.

.4,300 positive cases in July alone, 352 in isolation facilities
.1% of residents have received 2 doses of vaccine so far
.Says AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines can’t be mixed
..18% of Lagos inbound passengers abscond
.Places officials on alert over summer vacation

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Amid COVID-19 third wave, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed that due to consequences of the virus an average of six deaths was recorded daily in last week making a total of 42 casualties in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu, disclosed this on Monday while briefing State House correspondents at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on the situation report and update on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The governor also said the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines against the virus can not be mixed as it has been confirmed dangerous to human health.

Sanwo-Olu stated: “As I noted in my last address, on the 10th of July 2021, from the beginning of July we started to experience an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lagos State, with the positivity rate going from 1.1 per cent at the end of June 2021 to 7 per cent at the end of July 2021.

“As of August 1 2021, the positivity rate in Lagos is 8.9 per cent. This is an 8-fold increase over the recorded figure a month ago, and it should rightly alarm all of us.

“This has resulted in 4,300 confirmed cases in July alone and 352 admissions into our isolation facilities. But let me make it clear that this necessary sense of alarm should not be responded to with panic, but instead with a firm resolve and determination to reverse the trend.

“We have done it before and we can do it again. We dealt with the first and second waves and did our best to prevent a third wave. Now that it is fully upon us, we must dig deep into what we have learnt from the previous waves, as well as summon the will to do everything necessary to bring down the numbers, on the way to eventually defeating the virus once and for all.”

The governor, giving details on epidemiology, said, from the beginning of the outbreak in February 2020 to date, Lagos recorded a total of 64,032 confirmed cases of which 56,336 recovered in the community, while 2,755 are currently being managed actively in
community.

“Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 5,029 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos. We have, sadly, recorded 390 fatalities in Lagos State, 30 of which have taken place in this current third wave of the pandemic.

“Essentially, we have recorded on average 6 deaths per day since last week,” Sanwo-Olu stressed that due to the huge population and rising numbers of confirmed cases during the first and second waves, it became necessary for the government to deploy telemedicine in managing positive patients with the launch of a home-based program, driven by EKOTELEMED call centre service.

“If you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus, we encourage you to take advantage of this service by reaching out to EKOTELEMED on our toll-free number 08000EKOMED, 08000356633, ” Governor urged

On vaccine distribution and access strategy

Sanwo-Olu added that following the receipt of the first instalment of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Federal Government, Lagos State administered a total of 404,414 first doses and 243,374-second doses of the vaccine to residents.

“As of today, the percentage of residents of Lagos that have received 2 doses of the vaccine stands at 1 per cent. This is quite low, especially considering that we are now confronted by a third wave, and we are exploring all avenues possible to ramp up access to vaccination so as to reach our herd immunity target of administering vaccines to at least 60 per cent of the population of Lagos State.

“Experience from other regions of the world shows that majority of the confirmed cases that have resulted in death were in unvaccinated persons. This is why we are seriously looking to
scale-up vaccination coverage for our people,” the governor stated.

Sanwo-Olu, who also disclosed that the country received 4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine on August 1, 2021, expressed optimism that as the epicentre of the virus, Lagos State would receive a sizeable amount of the allocation.

He continued: “This vaccine cannot be mixed with the AstraZeneca vaccine, so it will ONLY be for people that have not been previously vaccinated. We are still expecting the second allocation of the AstraZeneca vaccine and will inform you when it is received.

“We will ensure that all future vaccine administration exercises are based solely on the appointment, to avoid a situation in which vaccine administration turns into a super-spreader event.

Inbound passengers to Lagos

The governor explained that between May 8, 2021, and August 1, 2021, a total of 72,232 International Passengers arrived in Lagos via Murtala Mohammed Airport. Of the 72,232 travellers, 18 per cent could not be reached by EKOTELEMED, because they provided international phone numbers, instead of Nigerian contact numbers.

He, therefore, implored all inbound passengers arriving in Lagos to endeavour to provide valid contact details to the authorities, so that they can be properly monitored.

“To manage the 3rd wave of the pandemic, EKOTELEMED will continue to focus on monitoring and tracking inbound travellers and cases in the community.

“We will also not hesitate to impose sanctions and penalties on all those caught violating the rules,” the governor warned. Sanctions Against Quarantine Defaulters

“As dictated by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), passengers from red-listed countries (India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey) are required to observe mandatory isolation. So far, we have successfully isolated 5,178 passengers in Lagos State. Of this number, 15 per cent have absconded.

“However, several travellers from red-list countries have refused to isolate and/or have absconded. This is reprehensible behaviour and has shown that these individuals are particularly reckless with no compassion for their fellow citizens who may be medically vulnerable, patients – please be reminded that this is illegal, and any unaccredited medical facilities caught taking in Covid patients would be immediately shut down and penalized,”
Sanwo-Olu warned.

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, the governor urged all primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions to cooperate with the officials from the State Ministries of Health and Education to ensure the safety of all the people in their care saying there is currently an influx of school students who are on summer vacation into Nigeria.

“If not properly handled, this could be an amplifying factor for the third wave we are already experiencing in Nigeria. All our existing rules and guidelines around social and public gatherings are still in place and must be obeyed.

“The third wave is already here with us, as much as we would have wished for a more positive outcome. We do not have a choice than to tackle it.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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