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Sanwo-Olu okays full reopening of churches, mosques

•Orders re-opening of cinemas, gyms, others today


Worship centres in Lagos State are now free to operate their daily and midweek religious services as the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has now ordered full re-opening for the daily and midweek services with strict adherence to the guild lines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.


Cinemas, gyms and other relaxation centres that have complied with the registration protocols as stipulated by the state government are also allowed to open for operation from today while schools resumption takes place tomorrow, Monday, September 21.


However, preschool pupils are exempted from the resumption. Sanwo-Olu spoke at his official residence in Marina while giving update on the COVID-19 management.


He said that as at Friday, September 18, Lagos State had conducted close to 100,000 tests; and recorded a total of 18,854 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, he added that 15,598 had recovered in community, 592 are currently active in community, and 207 deaths had sadly occurred. The governor said that Lagos, as home of the busiest international airport in Nigeria, has the responsibilities to ensure that the pandemic situation in Lagos State is not complicated by additional cases of imported infections.


Giving directive for the reopening of some facilities, he said: “Henceforth, cinemas and gyms are permitted to reopen as soon as possible, with a maximum of 33% occupancy, which means that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats; and in the case of gyms, there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the course of the day. “Next month, October, we will announce the decisions regarding the reopening of other sectors of the economy: night-clubs, bars, event centres, spas, public parks and so on. For now, these will continue to remain closed, until fixed plans for reopening are announced in October.


“As regards our places of worship, we are now also permitting the mosques to resume their five times a day prayers; and in the case of churches, they are now also permitted to resume their mid-week services. We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must therefore strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society. All of these resumption guidelines and protocols must be strictly adhered to by the various stakeholders.”


On the measures taken to curb the spread of the pandemic in spite of the resumption to f international flight, the governor said that all incoming travellers to Lagos State must be certified by testing to be COVID-19 free before and after arrival in the state. He said: “We encourage outbound travellers to also do a COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure to avoid inconveniences at their respective destinations.


Following the opening of Nigeria’s international airspace, the Lagos State government has been working closely with the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Port Health Authority to monitor all flights arriving and departing Lagos State.


Since the commencement of the flights coming into the country on the 5th of September till date, we have recorded a total of 50 flights – a daily average of 6 flights – carrying a total of almost 8,000 passengers. Despite this inbound volume of passengers, our positivity rate still remains on the downward trend at under 5%.”


The governor added that the current guidelines developed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for air travel make it necessary for travellers to present a negative COVID-19 PCR result within 72 hours of boarding a flight heading into Nigeria. “In addition, all travellers must show evidence of having pre-booked a COVID- 19 PCR test at an accredited private laboratory in Lagos.


This test must be booked on the Federal Government Portal – nitp.ncdc. – prior to arrival in Nigeria, and must be carried out on Day 7 of home isolation in Nigeria. “Let me make it clear that the presentation of a fake result on outbound and inbound flights will be considered a criminal offence and will be duly sanctioned.”


On school resumption, he said: “It has become necessary to issue clarifications regarding the resumption of schools, to clear any  confusion that may have arisen since the original announcement was made.


It is important for all parents, guardians and stakeholders to note that there are different resumption schedules for public and private schools in Lagos State. Public Schools will adopt a phased protocol for resumption of physical classes, as follows: “Students in JS 3 and SS 2 in public schools in Lagos State are to resume physical classes from Monday the 21st of September, 2020.


This resumption will allow the JS 3 students to adequately revise and prepare for their forthcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) organised by the Lagos State Examination Board, and scheduled for Tuesday, 6th October until Monday, 12th of October, 2020. “The resumption will also afford the present SS 2 students an opportunity to prepare effectively for their transition to SS 3.


The scheduled dates and venues for Entrance Examination into Lagos State Model Colleges will be announced in due course by the Lagos State Examination Board.” Meanwhile, as part of his administration’s commitment to reform the judicial sector, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo- Olu Saturday visited the state High Courts with a promise to change the face of court rooms and buildings across the state.


The governor, who also vowed that adjudication of justice would no longer take place in unconducive environments, promised total transformation of court rooms, buildings and other facilities for speedy dispensation of justice.


He added that judicial officials, such as judges, lawyers and other workers in the judiciary would operate in an ambiance environment for smooth justice delivery. Speaking on Saturday during an inspection to Lagos High Court, Igbosere and Ikeja High Court, GRA, Ikeja, Governor Sanwo-Olu said as his administration continues to deliver dividends of democracy to the people of Lagos State; it will also ensure that the judiciary arm is not left unturned.


The governor said the Lagos State Government would set up a joint committee between the judiciary and executive to work toward putting in place a rebranded and renewed physical infrastructure in the judiciary in the weeks, months and years ahead.


He said: “The whole objective of the exercise (inspection to the courts) is for all us to continue our collaboration between executive and judiciary understanding fully-well that we are all set up to serve our citizens.


And the only way we can serve is to ensure that all of us have the right ambience and have the right environment for that service to continue to happen.”


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