…Threatens to blacklist violators’ passports for 1yr

…Set to release policies aimed at achieving desirable herd immunity.

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

As the state continued to battle the fourth wave of COVID-19, Lagos State Government has expressed determination to do all within its power to enforce the new travel guidelines by the Federal Government and prosecute anyone found wanting in compliance through mobile courts.

The state government said the measure has become necessary based on the review of the current guidelines on travel protocols released by the Presidential Steering Committee which must be followed by all passengers arriving in Nigeria.

Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, stated this on Tuesday while giving the update and management of Coronavirus in the state.

According to him: “It is important to note that the review of the protocols was based on science, national experience and global developments.

“Regulation of Day 2 and Day 7 tests for inbound passengers for International Flight. While it is a stringent requirement that all inbound passengers perform a Day 2 test within 48 hours of arrival into the country; and an additional Day 7 PCR test for all partially or unvaccinated inbound passengers, we cannot stress enough how important the strict adherence to these protocols are.

“These tests are mandatory to assist the state monitoring the inflow of positive passengers, which we have identified as a veritable source of our waves and community spread.

“Based on this, we will commence the prosecution of those that refuse to submit themselves for these mandatory tests by blacklisting their passports for 1 year.

“This would be carried out in partnership with the Presidential Steering Committee. In addition, all foreigners that flout the rules would be subject to possible deportation.

“Therefore, I implore all intending inbound passengers to perform their required tests at any of the private laboratories within the Lagos State Private Laboratory Consortium as and at when due.”

Fake covid test results, vaccination cards

Sanwo-Olu stated: “It is also pertinent to mention at this point that we have received very disturbing information about intending outbound passengers procuring fake Covid test results and/or vaccination cards for travel purposes. This is a very worrisome trend for us to note and we are currently working with the NCDC, DSS and the Police to investigate and bring to book the criminal gangs involved in this reprehensible activity.

“We implore everyone to desist from patronizing these gangs, as anyone found with a fake COVID test result and/or vaccination card will also be liable to prosecution and very stiff penalties.

“Our State mobile courts will be used to prosecute all those involved in flouting the regulations; as well as those engaged in the fraudulent production of fake covid test results and vaccination certificates.”

On testing protocols, Sanwo-Olu stated till the moment “Lagos State Government is still offering free COVID-19 testing at all our public facilities for those that fit our case definition for COVID-19 infections.”

Booster doses

He continued: “I am also very happy to announce that the Presidential Steering Committee, in partnership with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health, has approved the administration of booster doses for anyone with the criteria below: Any persons 18 years and above;Time interval of 6 months or more after receiving the second dose of Astra Zeneca, Moderna or Pfizer Bio-N-Tech; or; Time interval of 2 months or more after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.”

The governor urged residents to proceed to any of the public health facilities to receive the vaccines for free and at any of 30 private priority health facilities to access them for an administrative fee of N4,500 per dose.

Epidemiology update

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that: “As of the 5th of December 2021, Lagos State had recorded a total of 78,564 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 71,977 have recovered in the community and 612 are being managed actively in the community.

“Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 6,066 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos: with 686 registered fatalities.”

Mitigating 4th wave

Sanwo-Olu said: “Our approach to mitigating the effects of the ongoing wave of the COVID-19 pandemic include the following: Increasing the percentage of vaccinated residents of Lagos State from 1.6 per cent to 30 per cent within one year.

“I have specifically mandated the state Ministry of Health to administer 8 million doses to 4 million residents by the 25th of December 2021 under the Count Me In campaign. We have deployed a robust strategy that involves the private sector to improve access to vaccines.

“We are launching 30 private priority sites for those who want to be vaccinated within a private health facility. While vaccination at public centres remains free, there is an administration fee (N4,500 per dose and N6,000 for two doses) at private centres. To register for the vaccination, please visit the registration portal at https://nphcda.vaccination.gov.ng/

“Over the next couple of days, the Lagos State Government will release policies to facilitate the uptake of vaccines to achieve desirable herd immunity.”

Guidelines for social events, gatherings during Yuletide

The governor maintained that all social events must be duly registered to obtain safety clearance from the state Safety Commission website: www.lasgsafetyreg.com prior to holding; and adhere to all the guidelines set out, such as: “Where possible events should be held outdoors, occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 60 per cent of the maximum design capacity of the event centre. Every attendee of a social gathering must present their Vaccination Cards or digital bar code page showing at least first dose but preferably double dose full vaccination.

“In unvaccinated people, a negative PCR within 72 hours will be an exemption. Everybody, irrespective of vaccination status, must be subject to a Rapid Diagnostic test (Antigen) to be conducted at the event venue or within 24hrs prior to the event at designated laboratories. (Request for rapid tests at the venue requires an application through the Safety Commission),” among others.

While thanking all members of the emergency operations centre and incident command system, in addition to all health workers in the public and private sectors, Sanwo-Olu, urged all residents to comply with all guidelines and join hands with the government in the management of the pandemic.

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