The Lagos State government has said that it is taking steps to prevent a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic following the flattening of the second wave.
This is as it has pointed out that all its facilities have been placed on high alert to pick up early trends that may suggest another wave of Covid-19 in the state.
This disclosure was contained in a statement issued by the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, on Monday, warning that a trigger for a third wave of Covid-19 in Lagos was likely with the importation of new Covid-19 strains from inbound travellers.
He noted that all strides gained in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic would be lost without improved border surveillance against the importation of new and mutant strains, which may trigger the third wave.
He said that the state will enforce isolation and testing guidelines for travellers and closely monitor positive cases to detect variants.
What the Lagos State Commissioner for Health is saying
Abayomi in his statement said, “Currently, countries like India, Brazil, Argentina, Iraq, Qatar, Peru and Uruguay are being ravaged by a vicious third or fourth wave following a less active and insignificant second or third wave.
The latest wave in India has been proven to be a result of new mutant strains that have resulted in a dramatic increase in sickness and death for two weeks running. Whilst we commiserate with countries like these, it is important that we protect our environment and residents against this virus, especially as we have only less than one per cent of our population that have received their first dose of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine similar to India that has about eight per cent.’’
He said the state government had authorised immediate measures to fully enforce recent protocols announced by the Federal Government for every inbound traveller.
These measures include banning entry to non-Nigerian passengers who have been in Brazil, India or Turkey in the last fortnight due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus in the three countries.
He said, “All passengers arriving in Nigeria will now have to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel rather than the previous 96 hours period.
I have hence instructed that all these protocols would be made more stringent to protect the residents of Lagos State from an impending third wave.
As part of these protocols, passengers are to mandatorily isolate for the required seven days and will be strictly monitored through phone calls by our EKOTELEMED platform and physical visits to the passengers’ homes by our surveillance teams.’’
He warned that anyone that flouted the rule or gave a fake phone number or address to evade the protocol would be identified.
He said such persons would be made to mandatorily isolate at any government or public-private partnership isolation centres or identified hotels for 10 days at their cost.
The commissioner added that the defaulters would be fined, while the passports of the indigenous passengers would be forwarded to the authorities for deactivation and foreigners may be subject to deportation.
According to him, the state will also improve its capacity to conduct additional analysis on all positive cases to assist in determining the predominant strains in the environment.
Abayomi said, “Residents are still advised to stick to the laid down protocols of always wearing facemasks in public gatherings, washing of hands and maintaining social distancing, even after receiving the vaccine.’’
In case you missed it
The Federal Government, in its new travel advisory guideline, announced that it will bar passengers who have visited India, Brazil and Turkey in the past 14 days from entering the country.
This is part of precautionary measures introduced by the government to reduce the risk of a spike in Covid-19 infections due to travellers coming from other countries as concerns over the new wave of coronavirus disease in some parts of the world continues to mount.
This new travel advisory which is subject to review after an initial period of 4 weeks, will take effect from Tuesday, May 4, 2021.