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Agency bans vessels without thermal screening facilities

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says it is banning international vessels without thermal screening facilities.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.

Jimoh said that following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the need to mitigate the spread, especially through shipping activities, the agency has developed guidance to support all types of ships operating in the Nigerian maritime domain.

“The purpose is to help shipping companies and all maritime stakeholders to follow advice provided by United Nations agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“The outbreak has necessitated stringent measures that can help curb the spread while not totally grounding the Nigerian economy.

“These are trying times and we must pull through together; that is why we have directed that all maritime stakeholders develop risk assessments and safety intervention guidelines for their personnel and operations,’’ he said.

Jimoh explained that the guidelines would be on the areas of vulnerabilities of their maritime operations that could be affected by the COVID -19 pandemic.

This, he said, would include, but not limited to, offshore operations such as crew/personnel changes, visits from onshore and other locations for provision of supplies, maintenance and repairs etc.

He pointed out that the agency would come up with the publication that would elaborate on guidance, including schedule for ongoing offshore operations requiring new crew or crew changes from affected countries.

According to him, this to ensure that pre-departure tests for COVID-19 are conducted on such persons.

He added that self-isolation procedures for the prescribed period would be instituted for such new crew/personnel before exposure to other personnel.

Jamoh said that only international marine vessel which had planned and informed of their call into a Nigerian Port not later than Feb. 1 may be allowed to call on such port.

He said that any international marine vessel or any member of its crew or passenger therein having a travel history of visiting any of the COVID-19 affected countries since Feb 1 should not be permitted to enter any Nigerian port from March 30 till April 12.

He added that only international marine vessel having thermal screening facilities for passenger and crew may be allowed on the ports.

“And that Shipping Agent/Master of Vessels must submit all documents related to crew and passengers regarding their travel to or from the COVID-19 affected countries.

“It is also important for all passengers and crew members to fill the Self Reporting Form as prescribed by Nigerian Port Health Authorities.

“Port Health Officers (PHO) shall carry out thermal screening of all the passengers and crew members on board ship.

“Until clearance is given by the PHO, no passengers and or crew members will be allowed ashore,” he said.

It would be recalled that in the fight against COVID-19, NIMASA recently donated 20 ventilators as well as six fast intervention vessels to facilitate transport logistics support in the maritime sector.

The agency also donated four fully equipped brand new Ambulances, four Hilux and four 36 sitter coaster buses to facilitate land based logistics in the Federal capital Territory, Lagos, Delta, Rivers Cross Rivers and Kaduna States along with cash donations to some of the states who have reported cases of the pandemic.

Food shortage hits Bayelsa as prices soar

Restrictions of movements over the coronavirus pandemic has led to shortage of staple foods and rising prices in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital.

Also sachet water which the residents depend on due to absence of potable water is also scarce like grains and food condiments amongst others.

A market survey at rural and urban markets in Bayelsa at the weekend showed over 100 per cent increase in the prices of Garri, Yam, Tomatoes and other food items following measures put in place to check the spread of COVID-19.

Checks at Okordia-Zarama, a rural market and Swali market in the urban area of the state capital showed that a four-litre plastic container measure of garri which sold for N600 few days before the restrictions, now sells for N1,500.

For sachet water packaged in bags of 20 pieces which sold for N100, same now goes for N150 as dealers said the lockdown had held down supplies from neighbouring states.

Mrs Obiageli Nwafor, a housewife said that the quantity of tomatoes she usually buys at N300 now goes for N800 on Saturday due to the lockdown announce by both Rivers and Bayelsa governments.

She said that iced fish, meat, vegetables and other edible items were not left out of the upward swing in prices.

“The restrictions announced by the government which effectively closed interstate borders between Rivers and Bayelsa has caused scarcity of food in the markets as traders run out of stock.

“The traders source a lot of things consumed in Bayelsa from neigbouring states and the directive to halt inter-state travels has affected food prices and traders are capitalizing on it by exploiting the people,” Nwafor said.

She noted that the preventive measures were necessary to discourage unnecessary travels amongst the people but advised Bayelsa government to take a closer look at the directive to allow vehicles to bring in food.

According to her, although Bayelsa had not recorded any incident, the confirmed infection in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital on Thursday, was a source of concern.

CBN disinfects offices

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has commenced disinfecting its head office in Abuja and 37 branches across the country.

The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

Okorafor said the move followed management’s directive in line with advisory from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that all government’s establishments should disinfect their offices as a preventive measure against the virus.

He also said that the CBN had instructed all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions operating in Nigeria to take adequate measures to disinfect their offices.

Okorafor reiterated the assurance by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, that the bank in collaborating with the banking industry players, would ensure it mitigated the impact of coronavirus on the Nigerian economy.

He, however, urged Nigerians to follow stipulated guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant health agencies of government to curb possible spread of the virus in Nigeria.

The disinfection exercise at the bank’s headquarters, being supervised by the the Director, Procurement and Support Services Department (PSSD), Mr Stanley Arinze, would be replicated in all the bank’s branches across the country.

The bank had assured stakeholders and members of the Nigerian public that it would remain open for business during this period.

Uganda talks with Kenya on fuel supply

Finance Matia Kasaija says Uganda’s fuel reserves were drying up as the quota it imports through Kenya’s seaport of Mombasa has reduced.

Uganda’s minister of finance Matia Kasaija said the country is in talks with neighboring Kenya over the dwindling fuel supply.

Kasaija told parliament that Uganda’s fuel reserves were drying up as the quota it imports through Kenya’s seaport of Mombasa has reduced.

“We have raised the issues with the Kenyan authorities and we are doing everything possible to ensure the supply of petrol and diesel is sorted,” he said.

He attributed the reduction to global outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has forced the oil producers in Middle East to reduce the supplies.

More

https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/business/Uganda-talks-Kenya-over-dwindling-fuel-supply/2560-5503688-50vdt4/index.html

Tanzania moves to shut down tourism

The tourism sector in Tanzania is bracing for a 45-day shutdown of hotels and resorts with beginning April 1.

It was understood that Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato) members arrived at the decision during their first virtual meeting recently to contain spread of coronavirus.

The decision comes barely a week after President John Magufuli exhorted Tanzanians to continue with their daily economic activities but be cognisance of the Covid-19.

The tour operators announced a halt in their operations starting April 1 to mid-May, and then await government direction. They also resolved to retain as many staff as possible during the period of closure, which coincides with the low tourism season.

“Human life comes above everything at this time, when solidarity has intensified globally than ever before,” said Sirili Akko, Tato chief executive.

The lobby also asked every Tato member to ensure all employee and their family have health insurance cover.

Tato called on the government to reduce the 18 per cent value added tax on the industry and invest in international advertising of the country as a tourist destination.

Tanzania’s first Covid-19 case was reported in Arusha, the hub of the country’s northern tourism circuit.

Since January 1, about two million passengers have been careened at all 27 entry points countrywide, over 3,000 of them this past Thursday alone.

Over 270 samples of suspected cases of SARs-Cov-2 virus that causes the Covid-19 disease from both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar have been tested at the National Health Laboratory in Dar es Salaam by Thursday.

More

https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/business/Tanzania-tourism-45-days-of-no-activity/2560-5506776-yd3qav/index.html
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