Lagos records increasing cases of COVID-19, reactivates restriction protocols

•Passengers with wrong details to face sanction, Sanwo-Olu says

AS Lagos State government strategises to contain a potential third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, reiterated the guideline on 50 per cent occupancy in an enclosed centre, including religious places. 

He said this became expedient in a bid to stem the upsurge in the number of new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the state. Sanwo-Olu, in a release made available to newsmen, disclosed that from the beginning of July, Lagos started to experience an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of the virus, with the test positivity rate going from 1.1 per cent at the end of June to its current rate of 6.6 per cent as of July 8. 

On the religious activities across the state, he admonished that greater vigilance is required at this time in churches and mosques and other places of worship, even as he noted that the state government is pleased that religious houses are now open for worship, after the lengthy closures of 2020. 

“For this reason, we are mandating full compliance with all protective protocols. Compulsory use of masks in all public places, social distancing, temperature checks, provisions for hand-washing and sanitisers and a maximum of 50 per cent occupancy in enclosed spaces,” Sanwo-Olu stressed. 

He added: “We must not allow ourselves to be carried away by the illusion that all is now back to normal. This is especially critical, as Sallah approaches in a little over a week from now. “The festivities will no doubt bring people together in large numbers and create conditions that can sadly cause the spread of the Coronavirus. We must not allow this to happen.” 

The governor said the new rise was contrary to the figure being recorded starting around the end of March when the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state began to wind down, a reason he said the government was able to “further open-up the economy to allow the start of the journey towards full normalcy in our lives and the pursuit of livelihoods, after what has been a very difficult year.” 

Sanwo-Olu, while lamenting the situation, said “with the test positivity rate going from 1.1 per cent at the end of June to its current rate of 6.6 per cent as of July 8,” violators or culprits would be made to face the law. According to him, passengers from red-listed countries of India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey are required to observe mandatory isolation as dictated by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, noting that the state had so far successfully isolated 2,386 passengers, while 15 per cent of the figure had absconded. 

“The following sanctions are being recommended and have already been meted out to defaulters – for foreigners: revocation of their permanent residency and deportation; and/for Nigerians: prosecution to the full extent of the Lagos State COVID-19 Law,” he said. 

The governor, while disclosing that a total of 50,322 passengers of interest arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Mohammed Airport between May 8, 2021 and July 2021, with EKOTELEMED not being able to reach 18 per cent of the figure “because of the provision of either wrong numbers or wrong Nigerian contact details to be reached,” said it was the responsibility of passengers to ensure they provide the right details for the government to reach them for proper monitoring. “Going forward, passengers that do not provide the right details, including a phone number through which they can be reached for monitoring and an address for isolation will face serious sanctions, including fines and imprisonment according to our Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021,” he vowed. 

The governor noted that Lagos State is being counted upon in tackling the rising third wave of COVID-19, assured that the citizens, as well as those in charge, must resolve that “we will not leave any stone unturned in our bid to effectively mitigate the third wave of this pandemic in Lagos State. 

“As you all know, Lagos has been the epicentre of the pandemic since the start, and the way we manage it here has a significant impact and reverberating effect on the national outlook and outcomes. So, Nigeria is counting on us in Lagos State to be resolute in our stand against the virus.” 

He further assured that the state government would continue to test aggressively, adding that it will also focus on sequencing the samples it was collecting, “to ensure we are detecting and keeping track of the different variants in circulation.” 

Reeling out the statistics of the state, Sanwo-Olu said as of July 7, the state had recorded a total of 60,202 confirmed cases of COVID-19, saying 55,135 out of the figure has recovered in-community and 770 currently being managed actively in-community. According to him, “Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 4,382 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos: with 357 registered fatalities.

“In all, we have tested 563,679 samples in Lagos State since the pandemic started. Today, we have 30 accredited testing centres: 26 private and four public health laboratories in the state, a significant improvement in capacity over the course of the past year.”

He enjoined residents to desist from patronising non -accredited COVID-19 treatment centres, saying that proprietors should also ensure that all suspected and confirmed cases are referred appropriately.

 

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