Nigeria eases school, travel bans as virus cases mount

30 June 2020 - 09:38 By AFP
Students who attend Nigeria's Islamic schools, known as almajiris, gather in Tudunwada, as authorities struggle to contain coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Maiduguri, Nigeria. File photo
Students who attend Nigeria's Islamic schools, known as almajiris, gather in Tudunwada, as authorities struggle to contain coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Maiduguri, Nigeria. File photo
Image: REUTERS/Kolawole Adewale

Nigeria on Monday said it was allowing children to go back to school to take exams and permitting cross-country travel despite fears over mounting coronavirus infections.

The head of the presidential task force, Sani Aliyu, gave the go-ahead for the "safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes (to) resume in-person in preparation for examinations".

A ban on travel between different regions of the country would also be lifted from the start of July, Aliyu said.

The latest moves come as Africa's most populous nation continues to register a stready rise in new cases, with 24,567 infections and 565 deaths recorded so far.

"For every detected case, there is a high possibility that up to five have not submitted to testing and therefore not detected," Aliyu said.

"We have observed with growing concern the non-compliances with these measures designed to prevent transmission and protect vulnerable segments of the population."

A raft of measures including restrictions on public gatherings, the mandatory wearing of facemasks and the closure of international borders remains in place.

Adherence to restrictions has been mixed in the country of some 200 million people and there has already been widespread cross-country movement.

The coronavirus has so far spread more slowly in Africa than on other continents but experts believe the peak is still ahead as governments increasingly ease restrictions. 

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