Easing of lockdown: Sanwo-Olu reads riot act against flouting of safety directives

Releases hotlines for whistleblowing
Urges discharged patients to observe 14 more days isolation period
Orders public workers to stay at home
Seeks monarchs’ support
Decries shortage of PPE in the state

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Amid increasing cases of COVID-19 pandemic and a gradual easing of lockdown, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged residents not to flood the city from Monday, as law enforcement agencies have been directed to ensure strict compliance to all guidelines and directives regarding personal hygiene, movement and public behaviour.

Sawo-Olu announced this on Sunday during a media briefing on COVID-19 update in the state, tenth in the series, held at Lagos House, Marina, Lagos Island.

The governor urged residents that would be resuming work to adhere strictly to all the guidelines as stated by the Federal and State Governments, saying, “the gradual easing of the lockdown which commences tomorrow (Monday) is not a license to all to flood the streets. We are not going from zero to a hundred.”

According to him, “Tomorrow (Monday) we will commence a modified phase of the four-week Lockdown directed by President Muhammadu Buhari. This new phase is a gradual and controlled easing of the Lockdown and will last for six weeks, in three phases of two weeks each.

“The goal is to enable us to achieve a balance between the protection of lives and the sustenance of livelihoods. Following each phase, the Federal and State Governments will review the situation and further adjust the response.

“We have been able to take advantage of the lockdown to significantly boost our capacity to contain the threat of this pandemic.

“One thing bears repeating: the gradual easing of the lockdown which commences tomorrow is not a license to all to flood the streets. We are not going from zero to a hundred.

“I would caution that we still remain at home if we truly are able to continue to work remotely and away from the office. We should only be out unless it is absolutely necessary to be out.

“As I have always said, we are not in normal times, and these challenging times will very likely be with us for some time to come.

“As long as this pandemic is with us, the disruptions we have seen will continue in one form or another. We do not know when we will be able to resume what we once regarded as our normal lives, or even whether those times we are now nostalgic about, will ever come back.

“What we however know is that the only way forward is the path of discipline and sacrifice; strict adherence to all directives and guidelines regarding personal hygiene, movement, and public behaviour.

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“On our part as a state government, I pledge that we will continue to be open and transparent about our response to this pandemic.”

On medical update of COVID-19

Sanwo-Olu continued, “We opened new Isolation Facilities in Oniru and Gbagada, adding 120 beds to our capacity. We also opened a new testing facility at the Lagos State Biobank, while also scaling up our active community case search, by opening sample collection centres across the State.

“The success of our efforts at ramping up testing is the reason why we are seeing an escalation in the number of cases in Lagos State.

“As at yesterday, (Saturday) May 2, 2020, we had 1,084 confirmed cases, while 247 have been treated and discharged. In terms of active cases, we have 791 cases; and very sadly, we have now lost 28 persons to the pandemic.

“As we test more people, we are likely to find more confirmed cases. This is certainly the right approach, as the more, we are able to track and find positive cases of the infection, the easier it will be for us to take the steps required to contain and finally defeat the pandemic.

“Thus, in line with the guidance issued by the Presidential Task Force, starting tomorrow, Monday, May 4, 2020, for the next two weeks, there will be a curfew across the State from 8 pm to 6 am daily.

“All movement in and out of Lagos is prohibited, except for people carrying out essential services or transporting essential products such as agro products, petroleum products, relief items, construction materials and registered courier

“All public servants in the entire Lagos State Public Service are to remain at home tomorrow, May 4, 2020.

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“From Tuesday, May 5, 2020, only critical staff on Grade Levels 15 and above, including council workers, who have also been specifically adjudged as critical staff by their Accounting Officers will be expected to go to work while frontline workers across all levels are, however, expected to continue working.”

Directives for markets

Sanwo-Olu directed that “All open markets and stores will be allowed to operate on alternate days between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm. Markets and Stores selling food items will open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while Markets and Stores selling all other Items, excluding food, will open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“Private Sector Companies and Businesses will be permitted to operate within a limited framework. What this means is that any offices and businesses that choose to open are allowed to open only between 9 am and 3 pm daily; and must limit the number of staff on the business premises to no more than sixty per cent (60%) of full capacity, at any point in time. “

In the case of banks and other financial institutions, he is encouraged them to open their branches and offer a full complement of services to the public must make sure they comply with all the directives regarding maximum office capacity and physical distancing.

Sanwo-Olu continued: “Eateries and restaurants will be allowed to open between 9 am and 7 pm, but only for take-out and delivery services. No in-dining services will be permitted.

“All places of worship, formal or informal are to remain closed from any form of assemblage or congregational services, until further notice, including schools across all levels.

“All Recreational Parks, spas, salons, sporting facilities, and public gyms, swimming pools and sporting facilities, as well as hotels, shall continue to remain closed, until further notice.”

Commercial buses, whistleblowing

Sanwo-Olu said commercial buses operations within Lagos State shall be between the hours of 6 am and 7 pm daily. “This applies only to motor vehicles. All commercial motorcycle operations in Lagos State are hereby suspended until further notice. Tricycles operating in unrestricted areas must not carry more than two passengers per trip.”

“All of the above directives and restrictions I have outlined must be underlined and accompanied by the following mandatory practices: The use of face-masks everywhere in public, and strict adherence to personal hygiene practices: nose and mouth must be covered when sneezing or coughing; hands must be washed or sanitized regularly, and no handshakes or hugs.

“The provision of hand-washing or sanitizing facilities and mandatory temperature checks in all the public places that are allowed to operate:

“To make it easier for the full enforcement of compliance with these directives, the Lagos State Government has launched Whistleblower hotlines.

“We are encouraging all Lagosians to be on the lookout for those who flout these orders and directives, and to report them to the Hotline, by calling or sending a text message to the following numbers: 0901-051-3197 or 0901-051-3198 or 0901051-3199.

“We will investigate all reports, and ensure that we take appropriate action. penalties and sanctions will be accordingly meted out to all those found contravening the directives.”

Meets monarchs

“In this vein, I have just concluded 2 virtual meetings with some of our first-class traditional rulers in the state to jointly discuss and agree on the modalities of ensuring that advocacy and awareness of this pandemic is as strong as it can get in our communities.

“We have received the firm and unequivocal support and commitment of all our traditional rulers to embark on a robust and sustained sensitization campaign of all our public health advisories within their various communities.”

Sanwo-Olu urged Lagos workers who reside in Ogun State to comply with Governor, Dapo Abiodun’s directive not to move out of the state as it aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus.

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On the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, for medical workers, Sanwo-Olu, decried the development, urging local manufacturers to take up the gauntlet and begin local production of PPE to tackle the eliminate the scarcity challenge just like in the case of face masks.

14 days self-isolation for discharged patients

Meanwhile, while responding to questions from the media on patients getting Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said that due to the nature of the virus, patients advised patients who had been discharged to still observe self isolate for 14 days, to avoid being reinfected as there is a likelihood of getting reinfected.

According to Abayomi, “That has occurred in the past where we had few people who turned negative and when we retest them they turned positive for a few periods of time before they turned negative again.

“That is generally the nature of how this virus infection behave. So we advise them to still self-isolate for the period of further 14 days when we discharged them even though they are negative, they should refrain from excessive contacts with other people because we can’t keep Easing of lockdown: Sanwo-Olu reads riot act against flouting of safety directives.


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