Sanwo-Olu seeks cooperation of stakeholders to curb spread of Coronavirus

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, charged community, religious and traditional leaders as well as Unions, Association and educationists to cooperate with the state government in spreading basic information to curb the spread of coronavirus among their followers and members.

The governor gave the charge while speaking at a Stakeholders Forum on the Management and Control of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) organised by the State’s Ministry of Information and Strategy, to sensitise the citizens.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke at the LTV Blue Roof, Ikeja, through his deputy, Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, said doing so would save the state the trauma of managing the further spread of the Coronavirus.

The governor further urged citizens to stop gossip and rumour-mongering on the coronavirus, saying that the outbreak called for caution and obedience to medical advice.

This was as the governor frowned on the fake news circulating on social media about the patient currently receiving treatment at the government facility, emphasizing that any information that does not emanate from the Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health or the National Centre for Disease Control should be authenticated before it is spread across the social media.

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Speaking further, Sanwo-Olu noted that as a responsible government, it had no alternatives than to activate all medical procedures that would ensure that coronavirus does not put the life of a majority of residents at risk.

He assured that the state government was prepared to handle any further incidents that might be discovered in the coming days, despite the fact that it does not pray for an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

The governor said owing to the experience with Ebola in 2014, the state government in partnership with the Canadian government, set up Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory at the Mainland Hospital Yaba to enhance the capacity to manage any disease outbreak such as the coronavirus which now exists in over 67 countries across the world.

He further urged that all hands must be on deck to prevent the infection from growing among the populace, adding that Lagosians must adhere to the simple procedure that can break the chain of transmission of the disease in the state.

The governor, while commenting on the symptoms, urged anyone that has fever, cough or difficulty in breathing, to seek medical attention immediately at the Primary Healthcare Centres and General Hospitals which were prepared to attend to all patients who present themselves for attention.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, earlier in his welcome address, disclosed that the forum was convened to enlighten Lagosians on the coronavirus and provide information from the state government about the journey so far and stop fake news which he said had been trending since the break of the disease in the state in the last one week.

He added that Lagosians needed to form a strong bond to ensure that there was compliance with medical advice to prevent an upscale of the coronavirus situation in the state.

Omotoso urged participants to assist the state government in ensuring that the message/information shared at the forum were taken back home to the people.

Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, in his own remarks, stated that there was only one case of the virus in the state, saying it had to do with an Italian who came into the country on the 24th of February.

He said that the state government was working with the World Health Organization to identify everyone who were on the plane with the index.

He noted that so far 100 persons who were in the same plane with the index had been identified and were being monitored on a daily basis, emphasising that since 2014 when the state experienced the Ebola virus, the state government had been building capacity to handle any outbreak.

He called on citizens to cooperate with the state government in its efforts to curtail the spread of the virus by living healthy, maintain good hygiene, wash their hands frequently and if they are sick, should remain indoor and seek medical help immediately.

The Representative of World Health Organisation in Nigeria, Dr Okudor Ifeanyi, commended the Lagos State government for their preparedness and swiftness in handling the case so far, saying the organisation would continue to support the country and Lagos State in ensuring that the disease surely comes to an end in the country.

He charged Nigerians not to panic but ensure that they listened to authentic channels for information on the right things to know and do to curtail the spread of the virus.

“If we do the right thing, we can collectively curtail the spread of the virus. We need to maintain good hygiene most importantly, we should always wash our hands. We don’t need to panic,” he said.

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