COVID-19: Nationwide Curfew Now From Midnight To 4am – FG

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•Bans Lufthansa, Air France, others

Edozie Udeojo, Abuja

The Federal Government has adjusted the curfew time from 12 midnight through 4am, as it continues the gradual easing of lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Thursday during a briefing in Abuja.

The amendment was part of those approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as the nation advance into the third phase of eased restrictions.

In June, the PTF adjusted the initial nationwide curfew of 8:00 pm – 6:00 am to 10:00 pm – 4:00 am in a bid to limit social interactions and, reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

The third phase will last till when the epidemic is sufficiently controlled in Nigeria.

National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, announced the adjustment at a media briefing, yesterday.

He, however, said those on essential services were exempted from the curfew hours.

“We are modifying the curfew to commence from 12 midnight to 4am nationwide, effective from 12:01 hours tonight. This does not apply to people on essential services and international travellers that might be returning from abroad.

“In terms of other aspects of general movement, no formal restriction will be applied within the country but the risk remains there. For citizens in particular vulnerability groups, the elderly, those with underlying medical illnesses are strongly advised to continue keeping away from mass gatherings and general public and staying at home.”

As international flights begin tomorrow, Federal Government has slammed an embargo on Air France, KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, Ethihad airlines, Air Rwanda, Air Namibia among others.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika explained that KLM and Air France were not approved to fly into the country because those with tourists visas were not allowed entry.

Those allowed to fly with appropriate COVID-19 protocols are British Airlines, Delta, Emirates, Quarter, Middle East, Turkish, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic among others.

The minister said intending passengers must register online, pay for COVID-19 test fee and upload the negative result not older than 72 hours before boarding.

Speaking at the international wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, Sirika said all aviation preparations and COVID-19 protocols have been perfected and the airport set for reopening.

While warning against sharp practices, he said any airline caught with passengers without COVID-19 negative result would be pay a fine of $3500 for each passenger and the passenger returned if he or she is a foreigner.

Giving insights into the reasons for the ban, he said the country will implement the principle of reciprocity to all countries that have banned flights from Nigeria.

Some of the countries which have already banned flights from Nigeria are in the European Union (EU) as the EU included Nigeria on the banned countries on the first of July when they opened their airspace.

States get nod to reopen schools

In spite of the relaxation in certain areas like markets and night clubs are to remain shut while junior civil servants are to stay away from their offices.

Similarly, religious centres, will continue to restrict opening subject to the protocols agreed by respective state governments and FCT. They are also to prioritise multiple services to prevent overcrowding and facilitate physical distancing.

But states governments were told to work out modalities towars reopening of schools.

“For educational institutions which include daycare, primary secondary and tertiary care, educational institutions should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening. However, we strongly recommend that states conduct risk assessment to ensure all schools are at a level of compliance and create a mechanism to assess and monitor that level of compliance.

“Meanwhile all daycare educational institutions are to remain closed to in-person classes until this level of risk is assessed and if there will be opening, it must be staged and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the general public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home,” Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said.

He also the president has also extended the work of the PTF which is supposed to end on the 17th of this month to the end of December.