The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday said but for the pressure from those willing to celebrate Eid-el-kabir, he disagreed that train services from Abuja to Kaduna resume.
Speaking at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, Amaechi said wearing of face masks was compulsory for boarding trains.
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“Pray, we don’t stop at Rijana, how many of you know Rijana?
“You know that is where they kidnap people. If it is at Rijana, you’ll come down there, if they carry you, you’ll come back after the spiritual activity.”
Amaechi said the government has reduced, for purpose of physical distancing, “the number of passengers’ coaches that convey 88 passengers will now not convey more that 50 passengers. So, you have your space.
“That’s why we increased the transport fare from N1500 to N3000 for economy; for business class, N5000; and for first class, N6000.
“First class, you don’t need physical distancing, it is just 23 seats in a coach of 88, so you have enough space, but for economy and business classes, you need physical distancing or social distancing and that’s why we’ve created those spaces.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, urged Nigerians, especially the Muslim faithful, to continue to observe all COVID-19 safety measures.
He said the PTF urged others yet to do so to follow suit.
He said the process of submitting the 6th interim report and recommendations of the taskforce for next steps had reached advanced stages.
The SGF said since Eid El-Kabir coincides with the expiration of the current phase of the eased COVID-19 restrictions, it would be prudent to extend it by one week, from July 29, 2020 to August 6.
He said the PTF had accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines till that date.
He appealed to Nigerians for a change of behaviour and compliance with guidelines and measures put in place. “If you do not need to go outside your home, please stay indoors. Avoid large gatherings and observe all the measures.”
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said: “With 262,579 persons tested, we have crossed the quarter million mark. When the epidemic curve will begin to flatten is still a matter of conjecture, given the relatively small fraction of our population that has been tested so far”.
Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, cautioned that “wearing face masks is less cumbersome and less stressful when compared to being on a ventilator.”