COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu raises red flag, says 3rd wave likely
…as Lagos to deport foreigners refusing isolation
Amid fears of the spread of the deadlier Delta variant of COVID-19 confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to have crept into the country, the Lagos State government has alerted to the likelihood of the third wave of the disease, warning residents against letting down their guard at this time.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a statement issued on Sunday and personally signed by him, said the state was already experiencing a gradual resurgence of the disease and increased occupancy rate in isolation centres in Lagos, a disturbing development that calls for concern.
“From the beginning of July, we started to experience a steep increase in the number of daily confirmed cases, with the test positivity rate going from 1.1 percent at the end of June 2021 to its current rate of 6.6 percent as of July 8, 2021. The rapid increase within a week gives great cause for concern.
Also, within the last two weeks, the occupancy rate at our isolation centres increased from an average of 1 percent to 6 percent. This is the new and disturbing reality that now confronts us,” Sanwo-Olu said, warning religious centres and private organisations to immediately step up preventive measures.
He said so far, the state government has successfully isolated 2,386 passengers who arrived in Lagos from outside the country, and of this number, 15 percent, unfortunately, absconded.
He warned of sanctions such behaviour as approved by the Federal Government, saying “for foreigners, revocation of their permanent residency, and deportation; and for Nigerians, prosecution to the full extent of the Lagos State COVID-19 Law.”
Elucidating further in the statement, Sanwo-Olu said it was regrettable that in spite of the hard work and dedicated efforts towards sustaining the return to normalcy in Lagos over the last three months, “we are now finding ourselves at what appears to be the start of a potential 3rd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” in the 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.
We will continue to test aggressively. We will also focus on sequencing the samples we are collecting to ensure we are detecting and keeping track of the different variants in circulation. It is only by testing and sequencing comprehensively that we can collect the data required for informed decision-making.”
The governor stressed that greater vigilance was required at this time in our churches and mosques and other places of religious worship, adding that “even as we are pleased that religious houses are now open for worship, after the lengthy closures of 2020, 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.”
Against this backdrop, the governor called for full compliance with all protective protocols such as compulsory use of masks in all public places, social distancing, temperature checks, provisions for hand-washing and sanitisers, and a maximum of 50 percent occupancy in enclosed spaces.