• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Lagos calls for precautions against second wave of COVID-19

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The Lagos State government has advised the residents to strictly adhere to precautionary measures against Covid-19 infection transmission to prevent a recurrence of the situation that led to the lockdown of the economy.

The state also said a resurgence of cases in Lagos may lead to the reversal of the strategically calculated measures put in place by the government to open up the economy.

Speaking on effort being made by the State Government to sustain the gains that have been made to control the global pandemic in Lagos State, Akin Abayomi, commissioner for health explained that many countries and cities are experiencing a second and third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with a resultant spike in the number of cases and fatalities.

“Many of the affected countries around the world have found it necessary to impose a second lockdown and restriction of movements, which have significant socio-economic and security consequences,” he noted.

According to the commissioner, the first wave of coronavirus started in December 2019 and swept through an unprepared world noting that the first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria was recorded in Lagos on February 17, 2020.

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“Lagos has since become the epicentre of the outbreak in Nigeria with a record of 21,107 confirmed cases and 212 deaths from the virus till date.

“The containment measures put in place at the time included COVID-19 testing, isolation and treatment, surveillance, total shutdown of the State for about 12 weeks and partial shutdown of social, economic and academic activities for over four months”, Abayomi recalled.

The commissioner, however, warned that the continuous flagrant disregard of safety guidelines by citizens heralds’ danger and may lead to a second wave of new infections in Lagos. He advised citizens against unnecessary movement and social gatherings, unless it is absolutely necessary stressing that travelling into and outside the Country should be discouraged except when absolutely necessary.

Worried that the COVID-19 induced culture of face mask use, social distancing and hand hygiene is gradually waning amongst citizens, Abayomi calls for the reinforcement of the adoption and adherence of various preventive measures put in place by the State government to tackle the disease.

“The erroneous belief that COVID-19 has been conquered and is no more in Nigeria should be discarded. Based on our data, this assumption is invalid. It creates a false sense of security amongst the citizens causing many to abandon the use of face masks and other safety measures and protocols put in place by the Government”, the Commissioner said.

He added: “Though we have reached our peak as predicted and are now experiencing a decline in the number of positive cases, this is not a reason to conclude that all is over. COVID-19 is still very much with us as evidenced in the number of cases being recorded in the community daily and occasional deaths from severe complications.

“The reason for the decline in COVID-19 cases in Lagos is attributable to a number of factors, including public adherence to safety regulations of physical and social distancing, hand hygiene, use of face mask in public places, expanded testing strategy and contact tracing, among others, and this is the more reason why citizens should not relent in this regard if we don’t want to experience a second wave of the disease”.

While noting that the widespread increasing COVID-19 testing capacity of the State has been very impactful in reducing community transmission, Abayomi urged citizens who fall within the case definition of COVID-19 infection to visit any of the dedicated COVID-19 sample collection sites in their local government or our public laboratories to get a test done free of charge.

He noted that early diagnosis allows for prompt and adequate management and care, resulting in the prevention of transmission to other citizens; particularly, vulnerable and elderly members of society who may have underlying predispositions.

The commissioner emphasised that COVID-19 testing for other purposes, such as travelling or as a requirement for professional reasons which are not part of the public health response, can be done at any of the 10 Government accredited private laboratories.

“It is important to put in place the right understanding for the reasons to request and where to source a COVID-19 test. If you are displaying symptoms within the case definition of COVID-19, you can get a free test at any of the four designated COVID-19 public health laboratories or get a sample taken at any of our LCDA sample collection centres; however, if you require testing for any other reason such as occupational related requirements or simple curiosity, then you may visit any of the 10 accredited private laboratories or book a test online on the portal covid19.lagosstatebiobank.com or the National portal specific for travelers on nitp.ncdc.gov.ng”, he said.