Nigeria plans to reopen schools, worship centres despite spike in Covid-19

Monday June 1 2020

Covid-19 test.

A health worker takes a swab from a woman during a community Covid-19 coronavirus testing campaign in Abuja, Nigeria, on April 15, 2020. PHOTO | KOLA SULAIMON | AFP 

MOHAMMED MOMOH
By MOHAMMED MOMOH
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Abuja,

Nigeria is still considering reopening schools and places of worship despite the spike in Covid-19 cases.

The country recorded 307 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10,162, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said. The country also reported a total of 287 deaths so far.

The NCDC also confirmed that 3,007 patients have been treated and discharged from hospitals.

In a statement on Monday, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) cautioned against reopening of schools.

Although some stakeholders have argued that reopening schools and places of worship is ill-timed, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 said it had submitted recommendations on partial reopening of schools, places of worships and some additional businesses to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration.

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The chairman of the task force, Boss Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said on May 31, 2020 in Abuja that the PTF had no problem with any of the 36 state governments that ordered reopening of the facilities in view of the power vested on them by the constitution.

“It is in the exercise of those responsibilities that they (states) had meetings with those religious bodies and agreed on the guidelines and protocols on how they open up, but in the framework of the national response we are taking that into consideration,” he said.

Despite the daily increases in coronavirus cases, Nigeria is winning the battle, Mr Mustapha said.

“[If] you juxtapose the rate of cases with our fatality rate, it is basically about three per cent. In other countries…it’s over 10 per cent,” he said.

Mr Mustapha added that the government has improved testing and treatment since the first case was reported in the country.

“When we started this exercise, we had only five testing stations, now we’ve ramped it up to 28,” he said.

He also urged Nigerians to keep following the regulations to stop further spread of the coronavirus disease, even as the government plans for gradual reopening of various sectors of the economy.

“We have not reached the peak yet and I won’t want to fool Nigerians by telling them that we are out of the woods. No, we are not out of the woods.

“As we even open up and accommodate more enterprises, because we are trying to have a balance between livelihoods and life, there’s a likelihood of increase in transmission in cases,” Mr Mustapha said.

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