COVID-19: Lagos gives fresh directives as cases rise again
Lagos state government on Friday gave fresh directives to check the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement signed by the Incident Commander and state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday, all public servants from GL 14 and below, except emergency workers and first responders, are to work from home as from Monday, December 21st for the next 14 days, in the first instance.
The statement reads, “All schools have been directed to shut down with immediate effect, and until further notice, while concerts, carnivals and street parties are banned in Lagos State until further notice.
“All Night Clubs in Lagos are to remain shut and those that defied the existing order to reopen must immediately shut down, until further notice.
“The government has also reintroduced the 12 midnight to 4am curfew imposed by the Federal Government, while “the protocol of ‘No Mask No Entry’ must be enforced by all public places: Offices, Businesses, Markets, Shops, and so on.
“All Places of Worship (Churches, Mosques, etc.) must ensure that no gathering exceeds two hours and also that no gathering exceeds 50% of the maximum capacity of the Venue.
“All Event Planners must obtain prior clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission (www.lasgsafetyreg.com) for all events, and ensure that any planned gatherings do not exceed 300 people.
“Where the capacity of a Venue exceeds 300 and permission has been granted, the occupancy shall not be more than 50% of such a venue.
“Ample ventilation must also be maintained at all times in all Venues, and Deep cleaning of the premises must be carried out BEFORE and AFTER every event.
“A minimum of 2 meters’ distance should be maintained between seated or standing guests” while all guests and service providers at events must wear nose masks/coverings before entry.
“Hand sanitizers or hand washing units are to be positioned at the entry point and various spots within the hall. Provision must be made for all guests and service providers to wash their hands before entering the venue or use hand sanitizers, as well as undergo a temperature check, which is mandatory.
“Guests and service providers with high temperature (above 37.5) are to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team that must be present.
“Health, Safety and Environment Officers must be present at all public gatherings (Religious or Social) and must be trained in basic first aid procedures. All Events’ Staff must also be educated on recognising COVID-19 symptoms.
“The government has directed Safety Commission to visit Event Centres and gauge compliance with the established guidelines, to stop the virus from spreading, adding that if there is evidence of lack of compliance at any Event Centre, it will be shut down immediately.
“The government has further mandated security agents to ensure full enforcement, without exception as no one will be deemed to be above the law.
“Any and all breaches of these regulations and public health protocols will lead to immediate closure as well as attract heavy fines and any other sanctions and penalties deemed fit, in line with the Lagos State Infectious Diseases Control Regulation 2020. Event Centre Owners/Planners/Vendors will be responsible for any breach of protocols by their Staff.”
Sanwo-Olu assured that the government will continue to closely watch the profile of the unfolding situation, while also awaiting updates and pronouncements from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“We will also keep working with the Presidential Task Force to ensure that the gains of the recent past are not frittered away on the altar of festivities and sheer carelessness.
Sanwo-Olu however, allayed fear of a possible drastic lockdown, saying, “The data we have – we strive to ensure that our decisions are as data-driven as possible – does not warrant the introduction of a drastic lockdown; we can achieve a lot simply by modifying our behavior in other ways: reducing the size of gatherings, complying with containment protocols, and applying common sense.
“The Lagos State Government is now sounding a clear note of caution to all residents on the importance of maintaining the guidelines that we have put in place to protect us from the ravages of COVID-19.”
The governor said, the government facilities are still open for free test, while “collection of samples for testing remains freely available in our sample collection centers spread across all the Local Government Areas in the State,” warning all unauthorized private testing facilities to desist or face the consequences.
“Let me also sound a note of warning to all private testing facilities that are complicit in the allegations of colluding with individuals to issue fake Covid-19 test results.
“We have zero tolerance for this kind of criminal conduct, and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody found culpable, in addition to shutting down the offending laboratories.”
Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State is recording an increase in COVID-19 cases in all local governments. This is not peculiar to Lagos alone; the entire country is also seeing an uptick in the numbers of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus disease.
“Of every 100 tests that we now perform, an average of 10 turns out to be positive. This is an increase from the 5 per hundred recorded in September, but lower than our peak in August which was between 20 and 30 per hundred. This suggests the existence of active community transmission, and represents the very likely possibility of the emergence of a second wave in Lagos State.
“This second wave calls for a full re-awakening of caution and precaution. The complacency that crept in over the last few months as a result of our early interventions when cases started to decline from our peak in August, must now give way to an abundance of vigilance, adding that, “We cannot afford a reversal of the gains we have made against this pandemic.”
The governor admonished that people must not because of the Christmas festivities become careless and lower their guide, “this is certainly not the time to lower our guard against the Coronavirus; it is instead time to step up our battle against this stubborn virus that has gripped the world for several months now.”
While wishing Lagosians compliments of the Season, Sanwo-Olu assured that his health was getting better by the day, and all will surely be well, thank them for their prayers and overwhelming kind thoughts. “I am, indeed, very grateful.
“Let us take responsibility for the welfare and safety of all while we enjoy the festive season with friends and families. It is important that as a community we strictly abide by the above regulations in the context of a global pandemic, without prejudicing our efforts to keep the economy running and maintain our means of livelihood to a sufficient extent. Let us use this festive season to spend quality time in small but controlled gatherings with family and friends in the spirit of the season. This virus does not discriminate. We must TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, and not treat this pandemic with levity,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He reiterated the warning that the government will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law to bear on any person or organization caught breaching the public health regulations and protocols with regards to the Coronavirus disease.
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