DANIELS G. O
Eighteenth Update on Coronavirus by the Incident Commander, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
1. I am pleased to make available to you the latest in our series of briefings on the Coronavirus pandemic in Lagos State, and the decisions made by the State Government as part of our deliberate and coordinated response to the evolving situation.
2. As at Friday, the 18th of September 2020, Lagos State had conducted close to 100,000 tests; and recorded a total of 18,854 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number,15,598 have recovered in community, 592 are currently active in community, and 207 deaths have sadly occurred.
3. It is however interesting to note that we have also recorded a dramatic decline in the number of Covid-19 related deaths at our facilities.
4. Our management strategy in Lagos State continues to focus on a combination of admission to COVID-19 Care Centres for some cases, and Home-Based care and support for asymptomatic, mild or moderate cases.
5. Patients on the Home-Based Care track have access to and receive special Care Packs and are also given access to psychosocial support via our Call Centre, 08000CORONA, and to telemedicine services through our Lagos owned EKOTELEMED.
6. They also have the opportunity to receive visits from our doctors, if they require it, to ensure that they are recovering adequately and in a timely fashion. Members of their households also receive regular monitoring to ensure they do not get infected.
7. I am pleased to note that we are continuing the decentralization of our sample collection, at our 57 LCDAs, and testing. We have recently accredited 10 private laboratories in addition to the existing four (4) public laboratories to make up Lagos State Covid-19 Laboratory Consortium.
8. We are constantly expanding testing capacity to cope with the impending increase in the number of tests, especially following the re-opening of the International Airport.
9. Our status as home of the busiest International Airport in Nigeria comes with added responsibilities to ensure that the pandemic situation in Lagos State is not complicated by additional cases of imported infections.
10. All incoming travelers to Lagos State must be certified by testing to be COVID-19-free before and after arrival in the State. We encourage outbound travelers to also do a Covid-19 test 72 hours before departure to avoid inconveniences at their respective destinations.
11. Following the opening of Nigeria’s International airspace, the Lagos State Government has been working closely with the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Port Health Authority to monitor all flights arriving and departing Lagos State.
12. Since the commencement of the flights coming into the country on the 5th of September till date, we have recorded a total of 50 flights – a daily average of 6 flights – carrying a total of almost 8,000 passengers. Despite this inbound volume of passengers, our positivity rate still remains on the downward trend at under 5%.
13. The current guidelines developed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for air travel make it necessary for travelers to present a negative COVID-19 PCR result within 72 hours of boarding a flight heading into Nigeria.
14. In addition, all travelers must show evidence of having pre-booked a COVID-19 PCR test at an accredited private laboratory in Lagos. This test must be booked on the Federal Government Portal – nitp.ncdc.gov.ng – prior to arrival in Nigeria, and must be carried out on Day 7 of home isolation in Nigeria.
15. Let me make it clear that the presentation of a fake result on outbound and inbound flights will be considered a criminal offence and will be duly sanctioned.
16. All persons who wish to test for COVID-19, either out of curiosity, or as a requirement for inbound or outbound travel can book for their testing in private laboratories accredited by Lagos State through the Lagos-State-owned portal: covid19.lagosstatebiobank.com.
17. Let me at this juncture make it clear that testing in Lagos State will continue to be free for all persons who fit the case definition of the disease, that is, people who are showing symptoms or have had confirmed contact with positive cases.
18. The fee-paying testing is only for people who want testing to fulfill a requirement such as for travel or work purposes.
19. It has become necessary to issue clarifications regarding the resumption of schools, to clear any confusion that may have arisen since the original announcement was made.
20. It is important for all parents, guardians and stakeholders to note that there are different resumption schedules for Public and Private Schools in Lagos State.
21. Public Schools will adopt a phased protocol for resumption of physical classes, as follows:
22. Students in JS 3 and SS 2 in public schools in Lagos State are to resume physical classes from Monday the 21st of September, 2020. This resumption will allow the JS 3 students to adequately revise and prepare for their forthcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) organized by the Lagos State Examination Board, and scheduled for Tuesday, 6th October until Monday, 12th of October, 2020.
23. The resumption will also afford the present SS 2 students an opportunity to prepare effectively for their transition to SS 3. The scheduled dates and venues for Entrance Examination into Lagos State Model Colleges will be announced in due course by the Lagos State Examination Board.
24. For all other public-school classes – All Primary School Classes, and JS 1, JS 2, and SS 1, announcements for resumption will be made as soon as the Lagos State Government is satisfied that all necessary resumption protocols have been put in place.
25. In the meantime, these yet-to-resume classes in public schools are expected to continue their lessons on our various distance learning platforms (online, radio, television and WhatsApp) pending the announcement of dates for physical resumption.
26. To recap, only JS 3 and SS 2 students of public schools in Lagos State are to resume on Monday September 21, 2020, as WASC examinations ended on September 12, 2020.
27. For Private Schools in Lagos State, all Private Primary and Secondary Schools are permitted to resume from Monday, 21st of September, 2020. We have strongly advised school owners and managers to put safety first and open in phases similar to the announced schedule for public schools.
28. We have also advised private primary and secondary school owners and managers to seriously consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule, classes on alternate days during the week, and utilization of distance learning methods as a complement to physical classes.
29. All private primary and secondary schools are also expected to comply with safety protocols and hygiene guidelines as instructed by the State Government through the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA). The Office of Education Quality Assurance will continue to monitor and evaluate Schools’ preparedness. If, however, any teacher or school head notices any pupil is ill, he or she should isolate such a pupil in a safe and secured room pending when the appropriate health authorities are contacted.
30. At this point it is very important to clarify that ALL Pre-Primary – Nursery, Daycare Centers and Kindergarten – Classes and Schools in both Public and Private schools will remain closed until further announcements are made by the Lagos State Government.
31. All pupils of Pre-Primary Schools in Lagos State must therefore remain at home until further notice, and continue to receive their lessons by virtual means.
32. Henceforth, cinemas and gyms are permitted to reopen as soon as possible, with a maximum of thirty-three percent (33%) occupancy, which means that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats; and in the case of gyms, there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the course of the day.
33. Next month, October, we will announce the decisions regarding the reopening of other sectors of the economy: night-clubs, bars, event centers, spas, public parks and so on. For now, these will continue to remain closed, until fixed plans for reopening are announced in October 2020.
34. As regards our places of worship, we are now also permitting the mosques to resume their five times a day prayers; and in the case of churches, they are now also permitted to resume their mid-week services.
35. We must not forget that the Coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must therefore strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society.
36. All of these resumption guidelines and protocols must be strictly adhered to by the various stakeholders.
37. The Lagos State Government, like the Federal Government, is committed to continuing the maintenance of a fine balance between the safety of lives and the sustenance of livelihoods. We will continue to make adjustments as required, but the gradual resumption of social, educational and economic activity must never be taken as an excuse to let down our guard against the pandemic.
38. Many of you will be aware of the situation in parts of the world, which are seeing a resurgence of infections, and rising possibilities of the kind of hard lockdowns we experienced a few months ago.
39. Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable.
40. The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times.
41. As a government, it is our responsibility to keep you informed and updated on all steps being taken to contain the pandemic.
42. We will also continue to ask for your understanding and cooperation in these challenging times, as we provide updates and make adjustments to our guidelines and protocols. This period requires heightened levels of patience, sacrifice and understanding from all of us.
43. As always, I would like to thank all our frontline health workers, and non-medical personnel – drivers, cleaners, attendants – for their unrelenting service in this battle against a serious pandemic. We are now in the seventh month of this battle, and the end is not yet in sight. We would like you to know that we appreciate all of your sacrifices thus far, and will continue to support you to protect and defend us all.
44. To all our Monitoring and Compliance Teams at the State and Local Government levels, and to all our Law Enforcement Agencies, at State and Federal levels, we say a big Thank You. Your work is noted and appreciated.
Governor of Lagos State
18th September, 2020.