Nigeria drops plan for some pupils to return to school amid COVID-19 concerns

Nigeria drops plan for some pupils to return to school amid COVID-19 concerns
FILE PHOTO: Students of JSS Tudun Wada school wash their hands, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Abuja, Nigeria March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

Nigeria has dropped a plan to allow some pupils to return to school because of a continued increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, its education minister said.

Last week the presidential taskforce on the new coronavirus had said pupils due to graduate this year would be able to go back to school to prepare for exams, though other children would remain barred from attending.

“We will not open soon for examinations, or for any reason, unless it is safe for our children,” Education Minister Adamu Adamu told reporters in the capital, Abuja, late on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.

“Our schools will only open when we believe it’s safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the incidence of the infection is going up in the nation.”

Adamu did not specify the reason for the policy shift.

Nigeria has so far reported 30,249 new coronavirus cases including 460 deaths.

Despite the rising number of cases, Nigerian authorities have relaxed some lockdown restrictions in recent weeks in an effort to protect the economy.

Domestic flights resumed on Wednesday, a week after a ban on interstate travel was lifted.

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