The Lagos State government has called on residents to adhere strictly to safety measures against the transmission of COVID-19. This is to prevent a recurrence of the situation that led to the lockdown of the economy.
Professor Akin Abayomi, the Commissioner for Health in Lagos, gave the warning on Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020. He stated that a resurfacing of cases in Lagos may cause a reversal of the strategically calculated measures put in place by the government to open up the economy.
The commissioner noted that many countries and cities were experiencing a second and third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with a resultant spike in the number of cases and fatalities. These countries, he said have found it necessary to impose a second lockdown and restriction of movements, which have significant socio-economic and security consequences.
“The first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria was recorded in Lagos on the 27th of February 2020. Lagos has since become the epicentre of the outbreak in Nigeria with a record of 21,107 confirmed cases and 212 deaths from the virus till date,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, the spokesperson for the ministry.
“The containment measures put in place at the time included COVID-19 testing, isolation and treatment, surveillance, total shutdown of the state for about 12 weeks and a partial shutdown of social, economic and academic activities for over four months.”
Abayomi warned that continuous disregard of safety guidelines by citizens may lead to the second wave of new infections in Lagos.
He advised residents to avoid unnecessary movement and social gatherings, unless it was necessary. He said travelling into and outside the country should also be discouraged except when absolutely necessary.
Abayomi expressed sadness that the COVID-19 induced practices of face mask use, social distancing, and hand hygiene were gradually waning among residents. He called for the reinforcement of the adoption and adherence of various preventive measures.
“The erroneous belief that COVID-19 has been conquered and is no more in Nigeria should be discarded. Based on our data, this assumption is invalid.
“It creates a false sense of security amongst the citizens, causing many to abandon the use of face masks and other safety measures and protocols put in place by the government,” He stated.
The commissioner noted that the widespread increasing COVID-19 testing capacity of the state has been very impactful in reducing community transmission, but urged residents who fall within the case definition of COVID-19 infection to visit any of the dedicated sample collection sites in their local government or public laboratories to get a test done free of charge.
According to him, early diagnosis allows for prompt and adequate management and care, resulting in the prevention of transmission to other citizens, particularly, vulnerable and elderly members of society who may have underlying predispositions.