… Bans indoor gatherings of more than 50 persons
By Olasunkanmi Akoni, LAGOS
In line with the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations, 2021 signed last week by President Muhammadu Buhari, Lagos State Governor, Mr, Babjide Sanwo-Olu has made it mandatory for residents to wear face masks or face six months jail term.
This came on a day Sanwo-Olu announced the approval of N200 million to support the ongoing COVID-19 patient management and treatment efforts of two Federal Government Treatment Centres in the state.
The governor stated this yesterday while addressing State House Correspondents on COVID-19 update in the state at Lagos House, Marina.
Sanwo-Olu said: “The importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions cannot be overemphasized. All residents of Lagos State must continue to abide by the public health and safety regulations that have been issued by the health authorities, including the following: Wear a mask everywhere, ensure that you wash your re-usable mask regularly, and also properly dispose of used disposable masks, if you operate an office or business, insist on the wearing of masks before customers or clients can be granted access or rendered service.
“Follow social distancing guidelines, avoid mass gatherings or adhere to published guidelines for congregations, Practice regular hand and respiratory hygiene, if you feel any symptoms that correspond to the outlined symptoms of COVID-19, get tested.
“Testing is FREE for symptomatic patients in Lagos State, through the network of public testing facilities, if positive, self-isolate or report to any Isolation Centre and follow-up clinics.
“The State Government has observed with dismay the widespread flagrant disregard and non-adherence to guidelines and protocols aimed at stemming and curbing the tide of infection.
“We particularly note that some event centres have been operating their premises outside the acceptable parameters for operation/usage and continue to be recalcitrant in this regard. This is to sound a very serious note of warning that henceforth all those found culpable and in breach of the existing regulations and guidelines would be swiftly and decisively dealt with in full accordance with the provisions of the law.
“It is hereby directed that no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space. A breach of the provisions of the Presidential Regulations attracts upon summary conviction, a fine or six months imprisonment and or both.
“Our enforcement agencies have been appropriately tasked to ensure maximum compliance. All Lagosians are enjoined to continue to observe all laid down guidelines and protocols issued by both the state and federal governments for the effective containment and treatment of the novel coronavirus disease.”
According to him, “Lagos State continues to be the epicentre of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. As of January 29, 2021, Lagos State had recorded a total of 47,871 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“Of this number, 34,094 have recovered in community, while 9,856 are currently active in the community. Over the last 12 months, about 3,988 COVID-related patients have been admitted into the various care centres across the State; with a registered fatality rate of approximately 0.63 per cent (301 deaths).
“Lagos State has 21 private and 4 public health laboratories accredited for Covid-19 testing. So far, a total of 316,801 samples have been tested, with 47,871 diagnosed as Positive. The test positivity ratio for January 2021 is 24 per cent, which means that one out of every four tests returns positive.
“This is the highest monthly average recorded in the last six months. It should be stressed that testing is free at all Lagos State public health laboratories, for all persons who fall within the case definition-that is, have symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, inability to smell or taste, headaches or general body weakness-or those who have come into close contact with 2 anyone with any of these symptoms.
“To this end, LUTH will be receiving the sum of N150Million and the Federal Medical Center, Ebute Metta will be receiving N50 million. These sums will be disbursed on Monday, February 1.
On IVERMECTIN, Sanwo-Olu said, “The State Government is aware of numerous international claims that the broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent/medication Ivermectin has shown some efficacy in acting as sustained prophylaxis in containing/inhibiting the causative virus in SARS-CoV-2. While this medication has not yet been approved for the broad treatment of the Coronavirus disease, the State Government has however taken the bold step of ensuring we have adequate stocks of Ivermectin, which will be initially deployed in a short clinical trial to ascertain its efficiency in our population to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection.
“VACCINES The Lagos State Government is aware that the Federal Government is expecting its first batch of vaccines (Pfizer) from the Covax Facility in February, and that Lagos State’s status as the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria will be duly considered in the distribution plan.
“At the moment the State Government is finalizing its own vaccine strategy; while at the same time keeping a close eye on ongoing vaccine research, development and clinical trials.
“In keeping with governments responsibility as a public protector and in response to the growing clamour by patients and families who are willing to pay for COVID-19 treatment but would like to do so at a cost that is lower than is currently obtainable at private six facilities.
“The Lagos State Government is making efforts to transform the State-owned Isolation Center in Gbagada into a fee-paying facility that people can elect to be treated at. This means that while the Covid Treatment Facility in Yaba will continue to offer free and high-quality treatment to all persons, Gbagada will offer treatments at a moderated and affordable cost to those who wish to take advantage of extra offerings like private treatment rooms and more personalized levels of care.”
On oxygen demands, Sanwo-Olu said: “Lagos State Government does not charge for the use of Oxygen in its centres. Considering that oxygen demand has spiked to between 300 and 400 cylinders per day across state-owned treatment facilities, the government is working hard to ensure that availability and supply are very easily able to meet and even surpass this demand.
“To this end, a second oxygen plant is under construction at Gbagada General Hospital and will come on-stream within the next seven days. It is expected that this will boost the in-house capacity and availability of oxygen across all state government managed treatment centres.”