LAGOS CONSIDERS SWITCHING TO COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19 CASES, AS SANWO-OLU MULLS ANOTHER LOCK
Updated: May 10
Lagos State may be in for another round of interminable lockdown of movement and business activities should the residents fail to adhere to the public health guidelines issued by the State Government in response to the fight against the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the State Government would be forced to review terms of easing the lockdown if there was no improvement in the adherence to the guidelines initiated to break the cycle of transmission of the dreaded virus. The Governor spoke on Saturday during a maiden briefing after the ease of a five-week lockdown imposed by the Federal Government. Besides, Sanwo-Olu said there will be a change in the State’s isolation strategy in the coming weeks, pointing out that Lagos was transiting towards decentralisation of management of COVID-19 cases, which would lead to the accreditation and incorporation of primary healthcare facilities and private hospitals for the treatment of mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 patients. The Government, he said, was taken aback, watching residents going about their businesses in the last five days after the ease of lockdown without complying with the public health guidelines despite massive advocacy. Sanwo-Olu said the crowd observed at various banks and markets across the State flouted the public gathering directive, noting that the Government would not watch while people violate the State’s guidelines towards combating the pandemic. He said: “As a Government elected to uphold the security of its citizens, which include health security, we will not hesitate to review the terms of the easing of lockdown if we do not see an improvement in adherence to our public health guidelines in the next couple of days. “We will be forced to take a painful decision of bringing the entire system under lockdown if we continue to see evidence that Lagosians are determined to flout the rules. “As we eased restrictions on movement, we have increased our testing capacity and we are also actively increasing our isolation capacity. Members of the public will also see a change in our isolation strategy in the weeks ahead, as we transition towards decentralisation. “What this means is that, we will be introducing community management of cases, by accrediting and incorporating primary healthcare facilities and private healthcare facilities for the management of mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 patients. However, we will guide this initiative carefully to ensure that it is not done at the expense of the capacity required to handle other medical cases.” Sanwo-Olu said the State Government’s order restricting the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, had been defied, directing the police to confiscate any commercial motorcycle seen flouting his directive. The Governor also instructed security personnel to strictly enforce the ban on inter-state movement, directing the police to turn back all pedestrians trekking to Lagos from boundary highways. The Governor said the task of ridding the State of the ravaging virus must be a collective responsibility and not a task for the Government alone. He advised residents to adhere strictly to the health measures initiated by the Government, stressing that the use of face mask was made compulsory to protect the unaffected population from the virus. Sanwo-Olu said: “We are at a critical point in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic where every citizen of the State needs to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. “As citizens, we have a great burden upon us, to behave responsibly. These times demand a lot from us, in terms of actions and behaviours that may not be comfortable. To stay alive and well, we have to abandon old habits and customs, and adopt new ones.” Sanwo-Olu said the controlled and gradual easing of the five-week lockdown was to strike a balance between the protection of lives and the sustenance of livelihoods. He praised manufacturing and construction companies for complying with terms of Government’s framework, noting that their activities, in the last five days, had made beneficial impacts on the State economy. The Governor, however, frowned at a “very low” compliance with guidelines by operators of commercial buses, observing that yellow buses failed to comply with the capacity restrictions outlined in our framework. He said the Government’s monitoring teams at State and Local Government levels had been working hard to raise compliance levels to 100 per cent. Sanwo-Olu reiterated his commitment towards strengthening the State’s capacity in combating the pandemic, thanking frontline medical and emergency workers for their sacrifice to the citizens. The Governor also hailed waste disposal teams for not relenting in their effort to keep the State health despite being vulnerable to being infected with COVID-19.