FG announces date for WAEC exams amid coronavirus

*Urges Nigerians to report anyone who demands payments for covid-19 test

*Says, rise in positive cases among VIPs poses threat to governance, security

* Launches new guidelines for Edo, Ondo elections

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic otherwise referred to as ‘Covid-19’ in Nigeria, the federal government on Monday announced that the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination will commence on August 4 to September 5, 2020.

On its part, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced that it has developed and launched new guidelines for the conduct of the forthcoming governorship election in Edo and Ondo states amid the COVID-19 pandemi.

Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education, who disclosed this during the Presidential Task Force (PTF), COVID-19 briefing in Abuja called on parents and guardians to take note and release their children to take part in the examinations.

“We are calling on parents to note that from August 4 to September 5, 2020, West African Senior School Certificate Examination will commence. We will not hesitate to inform the public should the need for any changes arise.

“The idea here is that we have a whole month from now till then, those who can and those who are willing; the states that are willing should make their schools available for their children to revise.

“We have done the most we can with our representatives at WAEC and we have, this afternoon, confirmed that the dates allotted for the exams will be from the 4th of August through to the 5th of September,” the minister said.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, expressed concern over the high rate of positive cases of the coronavirus disease, especially among top government officials.

Calling on Nigerians to be more careful by adhering to the preventive measures, Mustapha said that recent developments had further confirmed that COVID-19 does not discriminate or respect positions stressing that the PTF would step up its sensitisation strategy against the virus.

“Of recent, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation,” he said.

Mustapha went on: “Ladies and gentlemen, let me emphasise that decision for further relaxation was cautiously taken by government to balance lives and livelihood. Rising global and domestic statistics of cases and fatalities have shown that COVID-19 has not given any relaxation.

“Therefore, we cannot afford to slow down and we must never compromise. Let us continue to learn from history of pandemics by avoiding the mistakes of 1918.

“Having laid that foundation, the PTF calls on all Nigerians to also remain vigilant and this call is underscored by global and national developments in the last one week, especially throughout the week-end.

In the last one week, we have witnessed a resurgence in countries that were noted as having successfully contained or containing the spread of the virus.

“The situation in Beijing and the United States of America should inform our individual and collective actions. Of course, such resurgence have led to reintroduction of precision/location specific lockdown in some areas such as parts of Galicia region, Catalonia, Spain”.

Minister for health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, called on Nigerians to report anyone who demands payment for the conduct of COVID-19 test.

“I wish to remind everyone that government-run testing for COVID-19 is free. Please report anyone who demands payment for necessary action,” he said.

‘’As of July 6, Nigeria recorded a total of 28,711 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country out of 152,952 tests conducted.”

While explaining that 11,665 people have been treated successfully and discharged, he, however, regretted that 645 fatalities have occurred.

He lamented that Nigeria recorded half the total number of deaths as at June, 2020.

“It means that just under half of the total fatalities so far recorded occurred in that single month of June. While we more than doubled, the tests done and the number of cases detected.

“The reduction in case fatality rate is down to about 2.2 per cent as opposed to about 5 per cent we have seen on global average,” Ehanire said.

Also, Dr Ihekweazu said that the guidelines for the forth coming governorship election in Edo and Ondo state would support the Independent Electorate Commission (INEC), political parties and especially Nigerians who would be voting in these critical times.

He called on politicians and political leaders to take responsibility and lead by example.

Similarly, Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, disclosed that food will no longer be served on domestic flights when operations resume.

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Sirika said that the decision is part of efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus on flights.

“For this domestic operation, there will be no food. No food will be given to reduce contamination level and we will allow you to come with your mask,” he said.

“Like the MD of FAAN had said the other day, we see it as your private thing. So it is you bring your mask, they don’t have to be the fancy ones.”

They also said it would reduce the frequency with which flyers would remove their face masks.

Domestic flights will resume at the Lagos and Abuja airports on July 8.

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