Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday alerted the people of the state to a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that in the last three weeks, cases had risen from 0.1 per cent to 6 per cent.
In a statement he personally signed, the governor who commiserated with all Lagos residents who lost their loved ones during the third wave of the pandemic, stated that aside the state, most of the continents of the world – including Africa – are now experiencing another round of the pandemic.
Based on the state’s analysis, Sanwo-Olu said the fourth wave was brought by the non-adherence to the laid down protocols to mitigate the pandemic and pleaded with residents to get vaccinated and follow the guidelines regarding the use of facemasks, public gatherings and travelling.
As of the 5th of December 2021, the governor stated that Lagos had recorded a total of 78,564 confirmed cases of COVID-19, explaining that of this number, 71,977 had recovered while 612 were being managed actively in the communities.
In addition, he said that over the course of managing the pandemic, about 6,066 patients had been admitted into the various COVID-19 care centres in the state with 686 registered fatalities.
“Unfortunately, Lagos State is not left out as we are also experiencing the beginning of a fourth wave with current positivity rate at 6 per cent. This is against the positivity rates of 0.1 per cent as at the middle of November 2021,” he noted
On what the government is doing to mitigate the new wave, he said that the state had ramped up the percentage of vaccinated residents from 1.6 per cent to 30 per cent within one year.
Furthermore, Sanwo-Olu said he had specifically mandated the state ministry of health to administer 8 million doses to 4 million residents by the 25th of December 2021 under the “Count Me In campaign” and deployed a robust strategy that involves the private sector to improve access to vaccines.
In addition, the governor said the state was launching 30 private priority sites for those who want to be vaccinated within a private health facility, clarifying that while vaccination at public centres remains free, there is an administration fee (N4,500 per dose and N6,000 for two doses) at private centres.
While advising the people of the state to register for the vaccination to visit the registration portal at https://nphcda.vaccination.gov.ng/, he stressed that over the next couple of days, the state government will release policies to facilitate the uptake of vaccines to achieve desirable herd immunity.
He insisted that all social events must be duly registered to obtain “Event Safety Clearance” state government, maintaining that where possible events should be held outdoors.
Other guidelines during the festive season, according to him, are that occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 60 per cent of maximum design capacity of the event centre while every attendee of a social gathering must present their vaccination cards or digital bar code page showing at least first dose.
“In unvaccinated people, a negative PCR within 72 hours will be an exemption. Everybody, irrespective of vaccination status, must be subject to Rapid Diagnostic test (Antigen) to be conducted at the event venue within 24 hours prior to the event at designated laboratories,” the governor said.
The governor noted that despite the huge financial obligation and constraints associated with managing the pandemic, his administration will continue to do everything within its power to ensure the preservation of the lives and livelihood of residents of Lagos state.
While listing the protocols laid out by the presidential steering committee, the governor said that while they may be stringent, the tests are mandatory to assist the state monitor the inflow of positive passengers.
“Based on this, we will commence the prosecution of those that refuse to submit themselves for these mandatory tests by blacklisting their passports for 1 year.
“This would be carried out in partnership with the presidential steering committee. In addition, all foreigners that flout the rules would be subject to possible deportation.
“Therefore, I implore all intending inbound passengers to perform their required tests at any of the private laboratories within the Lagos state private laboratory consortium as and at when due,” he added.
He also mentioned that the state had received very disturbing information about intending outbound passengers procuring fake Covid test results and/or vaccination cards for travel purposes.
“This is a very worrisome trend for us to note and we are currently working with the NCDC, DSS and the police to investigate and bring to book the criminal gangs involved in this reprehensible activity.
“We implore everyone to desist from patronising these gangs, as anyone found with a fake Covid test result and/or vaccination card will also be liable to prosecution and very stiff penalties.
“Our state mobile courts will be used to prosecute all those involved in flouting the regulations; as well as those engaged in the fraudulent production of fake COVID test results and vaccination certificates,” he warned.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja