French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered his country into its third national lockdown, saying schools will shut down for another three weeks.
Mr. Macron announced the new restrictions on Wednesday as he sought to push back a third wave of COVID-19 infections which has threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
Addressing his countrymen on national television, Mr. Macron said with the death toll nearing 100,000 and intensive care units in the hardest-hit regions at breaking point, he was now forced to abandon his goal of keeping France open to protect the economy.
A slower-than-planned vaccine roll-out had also made the new restrictions all the more necessary.
“We will lose control if we do not move now,” the president said.
His announcement means that movement restrictions already in place for more than a week in the capital, Paris, and some northern and southern regions, will now apply to the whole country for at least a month, from Saturday.
Mr. Macron also said schools will close for three weeks after this weekend.
First, learning will be done remotely for a week after this weekend. Then, schools will go on a two-week holiday, which for most of the country will be earlier than scheduled.
Thereafter, nursery and primary pupils will return to school while middle and high school pupils continue distance learning for an extra week.
Describing the new measures as “the best solution to slow down the virus”, Mr. Macron said France had succeeded in keeping its schools open for longer during the pandemic than many neighbours.
Daily new infections in France have doubled since February to average nearly 40,000, according to a recent Reuters report, which also says the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has breached 5,000, exceeding the peak hit during a six-week-long lockdown late last year.
COVID-19: FG orders another lockdown
The Federal Government has announced another phase of COVID-19 restrictions across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
A member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed who made the announcement on Monday said the new directive will kick off from midnight onTuesday, 11th of May.
With the restrictions imposed, mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people and access to government institutions would also be denied to anyone not wearing a face mask while government meetings and travels have been limited to the virtual platform.
According to Mohammed, bars and nightclubs remain closed and the nationwide curfew will be in force until further notice.
He stated that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to.
Mohammed added that intra-state travel would not be limited.
Eid-ul-Fitr: FG declares Wednesday, Thursday public holidays
The Federal Government has declared Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th, May 2021, as Public Holidays to mark this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr celebration.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while making the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government on Monday in Abuja, congratulated Muslim faithfuls on the occasion.
A statement by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaib Belgore said Arẹgbẹsọla called on all Nigerians, at home and abroad to use the period of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr celebration to pray for peace, stability, and economic transformation in the land.
He observed that development could not thrive in a rancorous atmosphere and urged all Nigerians to be law-abiding and embrace the spirit of love, self-discipline, kindness, and tolerance, as taught by the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).
He also called on all security agencies in the country to be more courageous and patriotic to surmount the ongoing battle against resurging insecurity and activities of criminal elements in Nigeria.
The minister assured Nigerians that the resolve of President Muhammadu Buhari-led’s administration to end the scourge of crime and criminality in the country and restore peace to every nook and cranny of Nigeria was sacrosanct.
“This administration will not be deterred in its efforts, until every Nigerian and resident of the country, is free to move around without fear of any threat to his/her life and property.
“We are therefore putting necessary measures and strategies in place to strengthen the stability of the country as well as ensuring the economic prosperity of our dear nation,” he emphasised.
The Minister wishes all Muslims a happy and peaceful Eidul-Fitr celebration.
Army arrests Boko Haram suspects in Kano
10 suspected Boko Haram militants have reportedly been arrested by troops of the Nigerian Army in Kano.
Reports gathered by Radio Nigeria shows that the arrests were made after the troops stormed Filin Lazio in Hotoro area of Kano metropolis on Saturday evening and raided a mosque and some houses.
Sources in the area revealed that the raid which caused fear and panic among residents was carried out while the Muslim faithful were breaking their Ramadan fast.
Another eyewitness reveals that the soldiers went away some unidentified items from the surroundings of the mosque.
Speaking to Radio Nigeria, the spokesperson, 3rd Brigade Nigerian Army in Kano, Captain Njoko Irabor confirmed the operation, but did not give exact number of suspects arrested and added that the exercise would be continuous.
Ramadan: Group donates food to orphans, inmates
An religious organisation, Gwarinpa 2 Muslim Ummah has donated food items and clothes to orphanages and inmates in the FCT as parts of a Ramadan programme.
The Acting Chairman of the organisation, Ustaz Muhammed Garba while handing over the food items to the Suleja custodial centre, Niger State, encouraged inmates to look up to God for a brighter future.
Assistant Controller, NCS, Abdulrahman Musa who commended the organization, said visits by religious bodies always go a long way in giving the inmates peace of mind.
Also at the Arome Mercy Land orphanage Zuma rock village, the Director of the orphanage, Hajia Yele Wanny Audu said the donation would help ameliorate the condition of the orphans.
Chad military claims victory over rebels that killed Deby
Rebels from Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), captured during the fighting in the north of the country, are pictured at the army headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad. Photo credit Reuters
The Chadian military has claimed victory in its weeks-long battle with rebels that led to the death of President Idriss Deby on the battlefield.
Crowds in the capital N’Djamena cheered on Sunday as soldiers returned from the front line in a column of tanks and armoured vehicles.
The army’s Chief of the General Staff Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud told reporters that the triumphant return of the army to the barracks heralded the end of operations and Chad’s victory.
At an army base in N’Djamena, dozens of captured rebels sat in the dirt, on display for the assembled press.
However, the spokesman of the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol said it was not aware of an end to the fighting.
FACT fighters crossed the border from Libya in April to take a stand against Deby, whose 30-year rule they opposed. His subsequent death while visiting troops plunged the country into crisis.
On Saturday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse a protest against the ruling military council. The council, led by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Itno, seized power after Deby’s death, promising to oversee an 18-month transition to elections.
Opposition politicians and civil society have denounced the takeover as a coup and called for supporters to take to the streets. At least five people were killed during a protest on April 27.
A prominent human rights activist, Mahamat Nour Ibedou said opponents had planned a further protest on Sunday, but postponed it out of fear the authorities planned to suppress it violently.
Former colonial ruler France, which has a military presence in Chad and was a long-term backer of Deby, initially signalled its strong support for the council but has since called for a civilian national unity government.
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