Sanwo-Olu Raises The Alarm, Threatens ‘Serious Sanctions’
AS the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through with escalating infection cases, Lagos has taken drastic measures, among other things, announcing revocation of permanent residency permits for defaulting foreigners and prosecution against absconding locals.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is also the Incident Commander for COVID-19 the state, disclosed that of the 2,386 passengers isolated in Lagos State quarantine measures over 300 (15%) absconded.
The state has been leading uncomfortably in NCDC infection numbers in recent weeks.
Sanwo-Olu, in a special Sunday briefing, noted that, from the beginning of July, Lagos started to experience a steep increase in the number of daily confirmed cases, with the test positivity rate going from 1.1% at the end of June 2021 to its current rate of 6.6% as at 8th of July 2021. He said the rapid increase within a week “gives great cause for concern.”
The COVID-19 Incident Commander also disclosed that, within the last two weeks, the occupancy rate at the state’s two isolation centres increased from an average of 1% to 6%.
Between 8th May 2021 and 7th July 2021, a total of 50,322 passengers of interest arrived in Lagos through the Murtala Mohammed Airport. Sanwo-Olu said that, of the 50,322 passengers, 18 percent could not be reached because they provided either wrong numbers or wrong Nigerian contact details.
“It is the responsibility of passengers to ensure they provide the right details for us to reach them for proper monitoring, the Governor said and warned of “serious sanctions” for defaulters in the future. The sanctions would include fines and imprisonment, according to the Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021.
He said: “Passengers from red-listed countries — India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey — were required to observe mandatory isolation. “So far, we have successfully isolated 2,386 passengers in Lagos State. Of this number, 15% have absconded.” The Governor revealed, The following sanctions are being recommended and have already been meted out to defaulters: For Foreigners: Revocation of their Permanent Residency, and deportation; and For Nigerians: Prosecution to the full extent of the Lagos State COVID-19 Law.”
Sanw-Olu noted that, starting around the end of March 2021, the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic in Lagos State had begun to wind down, and Lagosians began to enjoy some reprieve from the worst effects of the virus. “This allowed us to further open-up the economy to allow the start of the journey towards full normalcy in our lives and the pursuit of livelihoods, after what has been a very difficult year. “Regrettably, in spite of the hard work and dedicated efforts towards sustaining the return to normalcy, over the last three months, we are now finding ourselves at what appears to be the start of a potential 3rd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, in Lagos State.
“This is the new and disturbing reality that now confronts us. But we must not be demoralised by this. We must, instead, resolve that we will not leave any stone unturned in our bid to effectively mitigate the third wave of this pandemic in Lagos State.”
Prime Business Africa Reports that Lagos has been the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020, and proper containment measures would have l significant impact on the national outlook and outcomes.
As at July 7, 2021, Lagos State had recorded a total of 60,202 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 55,135 of which have recovered in-community, and 770 currently being managed actively incommunity. Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 4,382 patients have been admitted into the Lagos State’s various COVID-19 care centres, with 357 registered fatalities.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said that 563,679 samples had been tested in Lagos State since the pandemic started.
“Today we have 30 accredited testing centers: 26 private and four public health laboratories in the State, a significant improvement in capacity over the course of the past year,” he said.