The Lagos State government has announced that it has placed some countries on a watch list as part of efforts to curb the transmission of the coronavirus disease.
It noted that the new variant of COVID-19 has been identified in such countries and proactive steps need to be taken for it not to slip into Lagos State.
In all, 14 countries were placed on the watch list and they include the United States of America (U.S.A), Canada, France, Ghana Germany, Netherlands, Togo, Cameroun, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
This development was announced at a press conference on Tuesday by the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.
He added that Nigerians that participate in this year’s holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia on Lesser Hajj would be in isolation for seven days when they return home.
The Commissioner cautioned that residents and the government must not become too relaxed and allow a third wave of the COVID-19 infection.
In his words, “The affected countries are Canada, USA, France, Germany, Netherlands, Togo, Ghana, Cameroun, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
“Nigerians returning from lesser hajj would have to undergo a compulsory seven-day self-isolation. The state will not hesitate to prosecute anyone, irrespective of status, who fails to comply with the directive.”
The Commissioner added that international travellers in and out of the state will continue to be tested for COVID-19 and the government will sustain the sensitization and awareness campaign for residents to continue to stay safe by adhering to all protocols and guidelines.
“The state has however developed a five-pillar strategy for curbing a potential third wave in Lagos. These include ensuring that all travelers carry out COVID-19 tests while we also introduce PCR test to determine variants and mandatory seven-day quarantine. We will also utilise EkoTELEMED to monitor confirmed cases and provide telemedicine services.
“We will be sensitising Lagosians on the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as handwashing, social distancing, thresholds for public gathering, as well as discourage super spreader events.”
“Our oxygen supply approach will be two-phased – outsource oxygen plants to private partners and PPP for 700 cylinder/ day oxygen plant, while we also increase the number of vaccine doses administered by leveraging the private sector,” he added.
Speaking further, Abayomi revealed that some isolation centres have no patients and expressed optimism that the war against the virus can be won totally.
He said: “Landmark, Agidingbi, Gbagada, FCC, Lagoon and Onikan isolation centres have been shut while Amour II and Gbagada Isolation Centres are being re-activated.
“Of the 554-bed capacity, 550 beds are currently available. There is also a decrease in the number of patients who require oxygen therapy at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba.
“Following the reduction in number of positive cases, the use of oxygen has reduced from an average of 300 bottles per day in January 2021 to 60 bottles per day in April 2021.”
Conclusively, Abayomi warned that a law is in place in Lagos State that empowers the government to sanction any violator of the COVID-19 guidelines with punishment ranging from fine to imprisonment or both.
“According to section 11 of the new gazette of the Lagos State Coronavirus Pandemic law, 2021, the Governor has the right to order for a quarantine of a person or group of persons to be quarantined until it is safe for such quarantine order to be lifted in Lagos State.
“According to section 17 of same law, if passengers break the quarantine rules, they may face a penalty of up to 300,000 naira and/or one year imprisonment,” he said.