On Saturday, August 1, the Lagos State government announced that there has been a decrease in the number of covid19 cases which has led to a reduction in the number of isolation centers in the state as well. However, the state government is retooling it’s capacity and preparedness to meet the possibility of a surge.
According to report, Lagos state has recorded a consistent decline in new cases in the last two weeks, even with the expansion of testing going on. This result has not slowed down the testing or actions concerning safety so far, though the state welcomes the development. Yesterday, August 4, the state recorded 65 new cases while the National new cases as announced by NCDC stood at 386. “In terms of our Isolation Centers, we have since, last night shut down our Eti-Osa Isolation Center and will be shutting down our Agidingbi Isolation Center and moving all the patients there to our soon to be commissioned Indo Center,” the Governor said. “Furthermore, our Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba is now also gradually being reverted to its status as a hospital to cater to all forms of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV etc. The CaCovid dedicated tent on the IDH grounds will however remain strictly for Covid-19 cases,” he said.
He also said that in June, the government expanded Covid-19 testing capacity in Lagos with the accreditation of seven private laboratories. “We successfully tested close to 9,000 samples in Lagos State, across the public and private sector laboratories, a 50% increase from the approximately 6,000 samples tested in each of the preceding two weeks. We believe that this increase in testing will lead to an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of the Virus in Lagos State,” he concluded. According to the Governor, “It has now been five months since the first case of Corona Virus was recorded in Nigeria. Since then, Nigeria has seen more than 43,000 infections, and a significant disruption of social, religious, educational and economic life, like every other part of the world.” “We have sadly now lost 194 persons to the virus. This leaves us with 1813 active cases in community and 96 under management across various isolation centers in the State. “Lagos State remains the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria, but we also, I am pleased to say, we have set a National example in terms of the efficiency of our testing, tracing, treatment, and our partnerships with the private sector and the Federal Government. “Most of our patients in Lagos recover under our supervision. We now have two pathways through which confirmed cases are managed: either through our Home-Based Strategy, or in designated COVID-19 Care Centers. Those people in the Home Care category are being supported medically with our COVID Care Packs, and psychologically through our counseling teams.” He explained that such individuals were given “access to our tele-medicine services through the State owned EKOTELEMED, and are also visited weekly by our doctors to ensure that they are recovering adequately and in a timely fashion.” The Governor of the Sate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who hinted at the development, also lifted ban on worship centers, restaurants and recreation centers, albeit with safety protocols that must be adhered to, for the trial phase of the reopening of the listed places. Muslims are to resume congregational mosque prayers from 7th August while Christians are to resume from 9th August.
This decision does not exclude Saturday Christian worshipers whom he said are permitted to hold their services on Saturdays, subject to the same guidelines as churches holding services on Sundays. He disclosed that the reason for the decision was, because positivity has reduced in the state, even though Lagos State remains the epicenter of the disease in the country, adding a caveat that they could only open on Sundays for Christians and Fridays for Muslims. “We must reiterate that places of worship are only permitted to have their regular once-a-week services on the designated days. For the avoidance of doubt, churches and mosques are not permitted to have other services or fellowships outside of their main weekly services. “Places of worship are allowed to schedule multiple services, on their designated worship days, if necessary, as well as also encouraging as many people as possible to participate using virtual means,” he stated. The Governor reiterated that some conditions must be met and fulfilled by all Religious Centers and places of worship that are planning to reopen. These include the fact that only regular services and gatherings are permitted to hold. Night Vigils and other non-regular programs remains prohibited until further notice. Furthermore, he adviced against attendees over the age of sixty-five (65) years from attending services; and said that church gatherings should be held in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors, as circumstances and faith traditions allow. He also insisted the policy of “No face-mask, No entry” must be maintained throughout the duration of the services. “Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be carried out to maintain clean and hygienic environments before and after every service.
Appropriate screening equipment for Covid-19 symptoms such as a contact lenses temperature check must be available for entrants into the facility. “It is mandatory to provide hand-washing facilities and sanitizers at the entry and exit point of the premises. National emergency response phone lines must be displayed prominently on the premises. “Handshakes, Hugs and “high fives” are not permitted at services or gatherings, and this should be emphasized by displaying appropriate signs prominently. The use of stationary collection boxes and electronic methods for collection of offering must be encouraged. “The flow of human traffic in and out of these places of worship must be conducted in an organized and orderly manner,” he maintained.
Reports has it that the Governor also lifted ban on restaurants and other eateries that will now be permitted to open for in-dining services, from the 14th of August, with the proviso that they maintain a 50% occupancy capacity, and have also obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety Commission. Social clubs and recreational centers have been permitted to open as well, with effect from 14th of August 2020, on the condition that they have applied for and obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety Commission. The governor, however, expressed his condolences to the families of those who had lost their loved ones in recent times, due to reckless and avoidable road accidents involving trailers and containers as well as accidents on the waterways, saying the wheel of the law would take its course and all those responsible for the senseless deaths would be brought to justice.