The French Open will allow a maximum of 11,500 spectators per day to adhere to strict health protocols and curb the spread of COVID-19 when the Grand Slam begins later this month.
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) disclosed this on Monday.
The French Open, traditionally held in May and June, was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will now be held at Roland Garros from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11.
France has recorded nearly 31,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
The FFT said a maximum of 5,000 spectators per day would be allowed to watch matches at both the Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen showcourts.
It added that only 1,500 fans would be allowed at the smaller Simonne-Mathieu court.
Seating arrangements would have a gap of one seat on each row and no more than four people can sit side-by-side while wearing masks would be mandatory for anyone over the age of 11.
The qualifying rounds, which begin on Sept. 21, will be held behind closed doors.
The FFT had said in July it planned to allow up to 60 percent of the usual number of fans.
A record 520,000 spectators attended last year’s event, according to organisers.
Rafa Nadal and Ash Barty, who both skipped the United States Open in New York due to COVID-19 concerns, are expected to defend their titles at Roland Garros.
Tournament officials said that all players must stay in one of two designated hotels “in order to respect the health and safety measures.”
Serena Williams has opted to stay in private housing as she hunts for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at the United States Open.
She said players should have the option to stay elsewhere if fans are attending matches.
“I’m super conservative because I do have some serious health issues.
“So, I try to stay away from public places, because I have been in a really bad position in the hospital a few times,” she told reporters at Flushing Meadows after reaching the quarter-finals.
Williams suffered blood clots and life-threatening pulmonary embolisms while giving birth to her daughter Olympia in 2017.
“So I don’t want to end up in that position again,” she added. “For me, I try to keep a 12-foot distance instead of six.”
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Olawale Alabi)
3-storey school building collapses in Lagos
A three-storey building of the Excell College, a private school in Ejigbo, Lagos, collapsed on Saturday, two days to reopening of secondary and private schools in the state.
The building is located at No. 15, Ansarudeen St., by Ile Epo Bus stop, Iyana Ejigbo.
Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions re-opened on Sept. 14.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, told newsmen that no person was trapped in the collapsed building.
He noted that the school had been under lock and key since March due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions.
According to the LASEMA director-general, the building, which collapsed at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, is part of a conjoined (twin) three-storey building.
He said that the collapse was attributable to “visible distress”, adding that the collapsed portion affected the second wing, as shown by visible cracks on the walls, pillars and decking of the second portion.
“Distress calls received established that the building collapsed at about 8:15a.m.
“Information gathered from some officials of the school revealed that the building had previously shown signs of distress and the school was planning to renovate and refortify the structure.
“The three-storey building has two wings; the wing that collapsed seriously affected the second wing, as visible cracks can be seen on the walls, pillars and decking.
“Fortunately, nobody was trapped.
“Responders to the incident are LASEMA, Lagos State Building Collapse Agency and the police,” he said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola
Electorate, observer commend conduct of election in Edo
Electorate and observer at Ugboko Ward 5, Unit 26, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo, agree that the conduct of the state governorship election is peaceful.
Some of the electorate who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Saturday, said that the conduct was well organised.
Mr Benson Ibizugbe said that he was impressed that the process was going on peacefully and violence-free.
Ibizugbe said ”INEC did a good job by conducting a peaceful election here.
“There has not been issues of faulty equipment and they provided face masks for voters who don’t have to make them eligible to vote”.
An INEC observer, Ada Opkara, from Smile Africa, said that the voting process was seamless and commended the people of Ugboko ward for their peaceful conduct.
“I resumed here at 7: 18 a.m. before the INEC staff resumed activities, from that time till now, about three hours later, everywhere is calm.
She expressed optimism that the peaceful atmosphere at the polling unit would continue throughout the voting process going by the presence of security personnel.
Another electorate, Mr Monday Erhabor, said that he was happy that there was no violence at the voting centre.
“Everywhere is calm and peaceful, there is no violence, the security is tight and we are sure of a free and fair process”.
Edited By: Constance Athekame/Kayode Olaitan
Edo Election: European Centre decries non-compliance to COVID-19 protocols
Mr Wilson Manji, the deputy project coordinator, told the News Agency of Nigeria , that although the voters were all wearing face masks but they did not maintain social distancing.
“So far the election is going smoothly and calm. We are at Ologbosere primary in Ikpoba-Okha local government area of the state.
“So far everything is peaceful and calm here. Just that the INEC staff just arrived at about 10a.m. and accreditation and voting started at about 10.30a.m. instead of 8.30a.m,” he said.
According to him, the polling officers came with hand sanitisers and thermometers to check the temperature of every voter.
“But we are aware that there are some few isolated cases that started 9.a.m. or after 9.a.m. because of some issues they needed to sort out.
“From the reports we are getting, almost all the polling units have started voting,” he said.
Wariowei, however, said he observed that the voters were all wearing face masks but did not maintain social distancing.
According to Wariowei, before I left the polling units I visited, I educated the people on the need to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 regulations by maintaining social distancing for the safety of all.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Edo 2020: Card Readers fail to authenticate fingerprints in Esan West, Central
The Card Readers provided for the Edo Governorship election to authenticate fingerprints of voters in Esan West and Esan Central Local Government Areas of Edo on Saturday failed to recognise some voters.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria , who monitored the election in the areas, report that while the Card Readers easily identified the voter cards, they failed to authenticate their fingerprints.
This abnormally was noticeable at the polling units in Ward 5 (Uhunmudumu Primary School), and units 14, 15 and 16 (Emado Primary School) in Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area.
The same was applicable in units 5 and 6, Ward 6 (Idumebo Primary School), in Esan Central Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, Mr Victor Edoro, a politician in the area and an ex-commissioner in Edo, Mr Gideon Obhakhan, have described the exercise as impressive.
They described the voting process as peaceful and orderly, with compliance to COVID-19 Pandemic containment protocols.
Edoro, who voted at his voting centre in Idumebo Primary School, Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area, described the voting process as “peaceful and hitch free.”
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu