Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has raised an alarm over the increasing figure of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state and warned foreigners who violate guidelines that they risk deportation.
At a press briefing on Monday, the governor called on residents to adhere strictly to the guidelines put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Lagos State, the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria has witnessed a rise in positivity rate; from 1.1 percent at the start of July to seven percent by the time the month ended.
This has left the Governor worried.
“As of August 1, 2021, the positivity rate in Lagos is 8.9 per cent. This is an eight-fold increase over the recorded figure a month ago, and it should rightly alarm all of us,” the governor said.
“This has resulted in 4,300 confirmed cases in July alone and 352 admissions into our isolation facilities.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu believes everyone should be concerned about the rising cases, but he does not want people to panic.
Instead, he expects them to approach the situation “with a firm resolve and determination to reverse the trend”.
“We have done it before and we can do it again,” he said.
Six Deaths Per Day
The third wave of the pandemic has no doubt hit Lagos State proper and while it has not been as disruptive as the first and second waves, it has led to the reintroduction of restrictions and forced the management of the University of Lagos to send students home.
Governor Sanwo-Olu admitted that the state was already in the third wave of the pandemic but he believes previous experiences battling the disease will help the state prevail over it.
To achieve that objective, according to him, the state and its resident will have to dig deep and summon the will to do everything necessary.
From the start of the outbreak in February 2020, Lagos has recorded a total of 64,032 confirmed COVID-19 cases, out of which 56,336 have recovered and 2,755 being managed actively in the community.
“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 six deaths per day since last week,” the governor said.
Over the course of managing the pandemic, about 5,029 patients have been admitted into various care centers in the state.
Vaccination has played a crucial part in the battle against the pandemic and Nigeria has not been left out.
In Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu said 404,414 people and 243,374 residents have received both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
With an estimated 21 million residents in the state, the Governor is worried that just one per cent of residents have received both COVID-19 jabs, considering that the state was already confronted by a third wave.
To better the statistics, he said the government would explore all avenues possible to ramp up access to vaccination, so as to attain its herd immunity target of administering vaccines to at least 60 per cent of the population.
Defaulting Passengers Risk Deportation
A major obstacle to the race to end the pandemic is compliance with guidelines and protocols and the governor is taking a tough position when it comes to violations.
He warned returning passengers from red-listed countries – India, South Africa, Brazil, and Turkey – to observe protocols including mandatory isolation or risk sanctions.
Anyone caught breaching the isolation protocols would be subjected to a host of sanctions and penalties, including fines and possible prosecution under the public health laws, the governor warned.
Already, he said, the state was preparing a list of absconders that would be sent to the Presidential Steering Committee and the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
According to the governor, defaulting foreigners risk revocation of their permanent residency and deportation while erring Nigerians will be duly prosecuted.
Meanwhile, the vaccination drive received a boost on Monday as the Federal Government received over four million doses of Moderna vaccine donated by the United States Government.
“It is our expectation that as the epicentre of the epidemic, Lagos State will receive a sizeable amount of this allocation,” Governor Sanwo-Olu said, commending the US for the donation.
“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.”