Lagos Fears Third Wave Of COVID-19

Lagos State government has put all health facilities on red alert to pick up early trends that may suggest a third wave of the disease in the state.

This followed the rising number of infections in some countries, especially India Brazil, and Turkey with the possibility of a global rebound.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 had earlier announced that travellers who visited virus-risk countries in the last 14 days will not be allowed into Nigeria from Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

Lagos state commissioner for health, Akin Abayomi, in a statement on Monday, said the state was taking critical measures to prevent another wave of Covid-19, following the flattening of the second wave.

Lagos has been Nigeria’s epicentre of Coronavirus since its outbreak in the country on February 27, 2020, has recorded about 22,562 cases.

Although 21,119 persons recovered, unfortunately, 220 deaths have been recorded.

Abayomi stated that a trigger for a third wave of COVID-19 in Lagos would likely be the importation of new COVID-19 strains from inbound travellers.

He 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 as 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 percent of our population that have received their first dose of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine similar to India that have about eight percent.”

Abayomi, however, said the state government had authorised immediate measures to fully enforce the recent protocol announced by the Federal Government for every inbound traveler.

The Commissioner noted that Nigerians and permanent residents of Nigeria who had been in the virus-risk countries in the last 14 days would have to undergo mandatory quarantine for a week in a government-approved facility on arrival.

“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 said.

He, therefore warned that anyone who flouted the rule or gave a fake phone number or address to evade the protocol would be identified.

Abayomi 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.

He added that aside from fining defaulters, 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.

The Commissioner said, “This, I am certain, will help us gather relevant analytic intelligence that is critical for planning and defining treatment protocols.”

Abayomi also urged Lagosians to adhere to precautionary measures as the worst is not over.

He 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.”

The Commissioner added that the state would continue to improve all its systems against any eventuality.

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