Kaduna shuts schools again over COVID-19 upsurge

Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor

As part of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Kaduna State, the Government has ordered the closure of schools across the states indefinitely beginning from Wednesday, 16th December.

The government added that the date for resumption of academic activities would be determined by reduction in number of infected persons in the state.

Announcing the closure, the state commissioner for Education, Shehu Makarfi, said that the decision was to contain the spread of the pandemic in Kaduna.

The commissioner, however, pointed out that the academic institutions equipped with the necessary facilities can resort to online lessons.

“As part of efforts to contain the surge in Covid-19 infections in the state, all schools have been directed to close by Wednesday, 16 December 2020”.

The closure came days after raised concerns over the virus surge and assured that all necessary measures including imposition of another lockdown, would be taken to ensure the COVID-19 curve is flattened in Kaduna.

It said that the measure would be adopted again, as done earlier this year if the rate of spread retains or exceeds its current pace in the state.

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Announcing the government plans, Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, said that indications from ongoing tests conducted on residents further showed that the speed at which COVID-19 spread in the state was gradually returning to what happened earlier in the year that resulted to the lockdown.

Mohammed-Baloni noted that the conditions that compelled the 75-day lockdown of the state were now being replicated, saying, Kaduna State is now recording high infection figures reminiscent of the first wave of COVID-19 spread in April, May and June 2020.

“On 26th November 2020, the state recorded 74 positive results from 531 samples. The quantum of infections since then suggests both high infection rates and the reality that a new wave of infections is spreading across the state. As of yesterday, 11th December, the state recorded 117 positive cases from 518 samples. (This translates to almost one in four samples testing positive)”.

The commissioner stressed that the second infections wave-cut across age groups but was dominant among those between 10years and 35years.

She cautioned that if the spread continues at the current rate, it may challenge and overwhelm the health system despite efforts to improve the resilience of the sector.

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To prevent it from happening, Mohammed-Baloni stated that some containment measures would be adopted including availing the State Covid-19 Taskforce all relevant data to monitor and access the rate of voluntary compliance.

“If the rate of spread retains or exceeds the current pace, then we will have no option to recommend the temporary closure of public spaces, including schools, markets, offices, and places of worship.

“But there is a less costly way out. And that involves citizens living their lives and conducting themselves in ways that do not spread the disease. That way, lives, and livelihoods are protected while public health officers try to contain and manage the disease without causing painful disruptions”, the commissioner added.

She, however, said: “I urge all citizens, businesses, and organisations to appreciate the danger that we face and let us all work together to avoid emergency conditions. We have done it before. Let us do it again!”.

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