The Lagos State government has ordered the closure of all markets from Thursday, March 26 as a further step to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The order came as the number of suspected cases under watch in the state has risen to 1,800. Actual confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the state as of Tuesday, March 24, stood at 28, with the possibility it might climb higher.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who addressed journalists at the Government House, Marina, said the decision to close the markets was to halt person to person spread of the virus.
According to Sanwo-Olu, only markets and stores that sell food items, drugs, water among other human essentials would be allowed to operate.
“Fellow Lagosians, today I have some further new directives and guidelines to share with you, as follows:
“The organised private sector is hereby encouraged to follow the steps of the public sector and allow as many workers as possible to work from home.
Banks and other financial institutions are encouraged to prioritise online channels for their services to the public; with only essential and key senior staff being in the office during these times.
The chief judge of Lagos State has been directed to ensure that all magistrate and high courts in Lagos State close immediately to the public and suspend all court sittings; and much as is possible, essential services should be transacted electronically,” he said.
Sanwo-Ou added that all public parks, including those in private and residential estates, swimming pools, gyms, beauty salons, and all such public places are expected to shut down at this time, until further notice.
“All open markets and stores are directed to close, except for sellers of food and medicines, medical equipment and other essential life-saving products.
For those that fall into the aforementioned categories, it is imperative that they observe necessary precautionary measures of social distancing,” he added.
The governor also urged all travel to and from Lagos, whether by air or by road, be avoided at this time, in line with earlier directive by the Federal Government to the residents of Lagos and Abuja to stay home.
He said “I would like to reiterate this in the strongest terms possible. As much as possible let us all refrain from inter-state traveling of any kind, until the worst of the crisis is behind us.”
He warned that anyone caught flouting any of the above directives as well as the previously issued directives would be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
“As I mentioned, law enforcement agencies and other relevant Lagos State protection agencies have been imbued with the power to deal with recalcitrant offenders. We will not relent in ensuring strict compliance with our directives.
He, however, said that all confirmed cases and the ones that have since been discharged, were doing well and in stable condition.
Sanwo-Olu also assured that the state government was identifying other isolation centers across the five divisional zones of Ikeja; Badagry; Ikorodu; Lagos Island and Epe to ensure seamless and coordinated approach towards the quick identification and isolation of suspected cases without overwhelming the mainland infectious diseases hospital in Yaba.