Covid-19: Lagos blames quick reopening for surge in new cases, calls for lifestyle change among residents

Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said, Monday, that the state was too quick to reopen for normal activities after the first lockdown following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, as, according to him, this explains the surge in positive cases of the Coronavirus, suggesting a second wave of the virus.

Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi

The commissioner urged residents to make lifestyle adjustments by adhering to all non-pharmaceutical interventions in order to cope with the global pandemic.

Abayomi, who stated this, Monday, while giving an update on the State Government’s response against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic at a press briefing held in Ikeja, explained that the lifestyle adjustment to be adopted by citizens would include adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols including proper and regular use of face mask, adhering to physical distancing guidelines and avoiding mass gatherings.

Others, according to him, include imbibing and practising regular hand and respiratory hygiene, submitting for tests if symptomatic, self-isolating if positive and presenting to an isolation centre for follow up.

The Commissioner noted that the State Government will continue to educate and engage citizens on safety protocols and the need to take responsibility against the infection whilst also enforcing various guidelines and directives issued by the government.

“We will deploy effective messaging and education via our various public information channels and platforms, while we enforce all guidelines through the respective State agencies,” Abayomi said.

While explaining the changing profile of the Coronavirus disease, Abayomi attributed the reason for the second wave of COVID-19 to include the opening up of the economy, general laxity, a false sense of security, non-adherence to safety guidelines by citizens, re-opening of schools, large religious congregations, social gatherings and entertainment among others.

He noted that COVID-19 positivity for inbound travellers to Lagos is on the rise with an increase of 8% this week alone and 4 per cent cumulatively, stressing that this can be attributed to the large numbers of Nigerians in the Diaspora who are returning to spend the yuletide in Lagos.

He encouraged inbound travellers to Lagos to ensure they self-isolate for seven days after arrival and submit self for testing at government-accredited private laboratories upon expiration of the self-isolation period. 

“According to the provisional quarantine protocol, all intending inbound passengers must test negative by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) done in the country of departure within 72 hours of boarding and are required to register via http://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng and pay for a repeat (second) PCR test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria on day seven at an accredited lab of their choice.

“Passengers must also prior to boarding fill in an online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form located on the Nigeria International Travel Portal which must be submitted online or printed for presentation on arrival in Nigeria.

“On arrival in Nigeria, passengers must show evidence of payment with an appointment for a repeat PCR test in-country following which passengers will be cleared through Nigeria Immigration Service. Passengers must then proceed on a seven-day self-isolation as per protocol and present at the designated accredited sample collection sites on the 7th day of arrival. Passengers who test negative after seven days will end self-isolation on the 8th day”, the Commissioner explained.

Abayomi noted that the resolve to stop COVID-19 transmission amongst the populace is unshaken, adding that the Incident Command System will continue to vigorously pursue all strategies and plans to ensure a COVID-19 free Lagos and Nigeria.

“It is also important that citizens take responsibility and adhere strictly to safety protocols and government guidelines to curtail the spread of the infection”, he declared.

The newly-commissioned Permanent Triage and Oxygen Therapy Centre at Eti-Osa Local Government, Monday

Meanwhile, Prof. Abayomi, also Monday, on behalf of the Lagos Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commissioned a Permanent Triage and Oxygen Therapy Centre at Eti-Osa Local Government to provide swift emergency oxygen therapy to residents who require such service.

The facility, which doubles as a COVID-19 sample collection centre, is located within the premises of the Eti-Osa Maternal and Child Care Centre and is one of 10 others strategically located in 10 local governments of the State with a high burden of COVID-19 cases.

Sanwo-Olu, in his message read by the commissioner explained that the project which was handled by super-fast project management is inevitable to prepare against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

He stated further that the facility could not have come at a better time than now, when the State is recording an increase in the number of people presenting with difficulty in breathing and requiring urgent oxygen therapy.

Sanwo-Olu noted that with the construction and decentralisation of the Triage and Oxygen Therapy Centres, citizens requiring oxygen therapy would not have to travel a long distance to Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital to access care, stressing that patients requiring oxygen treatment in Eti-Osa can walk to the centre for treatment and care.

The Governor explained that the facility which is a permanent facility will be an addition to the existing infrastructure in the hospital, noting that the facility after the pandemic can be used for other medical purposes.

He said other Permanent Triage and Oxygen Therapy Centres, located in Alimosho, Isolo, Surulere, Gbagada, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ibeju-Lekki, Apapa, Mushin and Amuwo-Odofin areas of the State, are almost completed and would be activated in two weeks.

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