FG lifts interstate travel ban, reopens schools
…domestic flights to resume as soon as practicable ...predicts figure may rise to 45,000 by end July
The Federal Government has lifted the ban on movement across state borders effective from July 1, according to new protocols for tackling coronavirus issued on Monday by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19. But the interstate movement has to
be only outside the curfew hours of 10pm-4am, the PTF said.
The government also said schools could reopen to allow graduating students to resume classes in preparation for their examinations, and also announced “safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable”.
It reemphasised that schools, including primary and secondary, would remain closed except for the final year class, adding that Nigerians are still endangered by the ravaging pandemic.
Under the new guidelines, the government said it would maintain the current phase of the national response for another four weeks with some modifications.
“The current curfew will remain and we will maintain restrictions on mass gathering and sporting activities. Domestic aviation activities will commence as soon as practicable, while movement across state boundaries will be allowed but only outside curfew hours. Students in graduating classes, Primary Six, JSS 3 and SS 3, will be allowed to resume in preparations for examinations,” Sani Aliyu, national coordinator of the PTF, said at the daily briefing on Monday.
“Federal and state government offices will maintain their current timing with only essential staff allowed at the same level of grade level 14 and above to resume work,” he said.
Aliyu said the use of facemasks remains mandatory and that “we will be enforcing this at all levels including linking up with state governments”.
“Access to government and commercial premises will be not allowed if you are not wearing a facemask. In other words, no masks, no entry; no services will be provided at government premises and commercial premises for you without facemasks,”hesaid.“fortheaviation industry, the aviation is allowed toresumedomesticoperationas soon as practicable in line with the existing international and local guidelines.”
For interstate travel, Aliyu said movement across boundaries would be allowed only outside the curfew time effective from July 1.
“We expect the transport industry to adhere to the Federal Ministry of Transportation safety protocols and guidelines that will be released specifically in relation to parks and terminals,” he said.
He, however, said commissioners of transport in states should undertake a tour of facilities and inform as a precondition for the resumption of interstate travels, adding that noncompliance with the guidelines would result in the withdrawal of licence for interstate mass transit.
“The PTF expects a strict compliance with the directives at the state level,” he said. “For intra-state level, we will maintain the occupancy for buses for 50 percent and two persons for taxis but we will restrict movements in high burden local government areas to essential travels only. This will be part of the strategy that will be introduced.”