Lagos State Government has revealed that since the commencement of the new guidelines and the ban on non-Nigerians travelling from three countries, India, Brazil, and Turkey, into Nigeria, nine passengers into the state have tested positive for COVID-19 and successfully isolated to prevent community transmission.
Meanwhile, out of the 568 in-bound passengers, who have been permitted to enter Nigeria from those three countries, 119 have refused isolation and 16 are unaccounted for.
Akin Abayomi, the commissioner for health, disclosed this on Monday, May 31, 2021, while giving an update on COVID-19 response, vaccination strategy, and implementation of new guidelines.
According to Abayomi, “Since the commencement of the new guidelines and the ban, Lagos State has recorded 568 in-bound passengers, who have been permitted to enter Nigeria from these three countries.
“We have isolated 433 passengers in our various accredited hotels and facilities; 262 are in Isolation and 154 passengers have been discharged with a negative COVID-19 test.
“Nine have tested positive for COVID-19 and successfully isolated to prevent community transmission. Of the remaining 135 passengers, 119 have refused isolation and 16 are unaccounted for.”
While frowning at the act of passenger absconding, Abayomi, urged the families of those that have refused to be isolated to appeal to their loved ones to return for testing and isolation to avoid being sanctioned.
The commissioner recalled that on May 24, 2021, the Presidential Steering Committee led by Mr. Boss Mustapha in collaboration with the COVID-19 response in Lagos State, led by the Incident Commander, the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, published the first list of defaulters of the laid down protocols travelling through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport as it relates to the red-listed countries India, Brazil and Turkey.
Speaking on the coronavirus Act and Sanctions, Abayomi stressed,” Whilst the State has gone through great lengths to provide a seamless experience for passengers, it is important that the passengers adhere strictly to the laid-out protocols to avoid sanctions which may include penalties and/or prison time as laid out by the Lagos State House of Assembly and to be implemented by the Attorney General of the State.
“The new Coronavirus Act of 2021 empowers Mr. Governor to quarantine anyone he deems fit and for any period of time. The act also empowers him to sanction erring individuals with fines of up to N500,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years.
According to the act, providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out the online platform is an offence punishable by 1-year imprisonment and/or fines according to Section 17 of the Coronavirus Pandemic law 2021.
“According to Section 17 of same, if passengers break the quarantine rules, they may be required to pay the stipulated fine and/or 1-year imprisonment. All passengers are advised to avoid the long arm of the law and act in good conscience by adhering to the guidelines to protect the lives and livelihood of all Lagos residents.”
While also urging all affected passengers to contact the lead Case Management Unit, Dr. Abimbola Bowale, on [email protected] to verify their status, the commissioner added that the list of names who might have been mistakenly placed on the list and have been cleared would be sent to the Presidential Steering Committee for removal from the published names.
“However, all passengers that have been confirmed absconders will have their passports deactivated for a minimum of 1 year, if Nigerian and if foreign, will have their resident permits cancelled and deported as stated by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19.
“All absconders will also face the penalties of the Coronavirus Pandemic Law 2021 of Lagos State, including varying lengths of prison time up to one year and fines of up to N500,000.
All affected passengers are to present themselves to the Yaba Mainland Hospital for assessment and COVID-19 tests to evaluate their status,” Abayomi maintained.
On the implementation of mandatory isolation for travelers, he explained, “Lagos State accounts for more than 95 percent of the in-bound passengers into the country and, as such, the state government has set up a system as well as protocols to manage in-bound passengers from all countries, especially countries where variants are actively circulating.
“Lagos State Government is working closely with Federal Airports Authority and Agencies. We have set up structures that will ease the passenger journey by modifying the Lagos State booking platform to provide several hotels that have been accredited by our Accreditation Agencies for passengers arriving from India, Brazil, or Turkey.
“Lagos State medical personnel have been posted to these hotels to support the management of passengers of interest in situations that the passengers might need some medical care.
“Passengers with medical conditions should elect to stay at our isolation centre in Yaba Mainland Hospital or at the Gbagada Isolation Centre as these facilities have additional amenities to provide medical care, if required.” Abayomi stressed that that logistics services with security have been provided through logistics partner to transport passengers from the airport to their individual hotels at no additional costs.
On the update on Covid-19 response in the state, Abayomi, revealed that as at May 27, 2021, the state had tested 495,339 COVID-19 samples, with 58,975 of the samples confirmed positive.
54,426 recovered in community and 274 are active in the community adding that of the 58,975 confirmed cases, 356 deaths were, unfortunately, recorded amounting to a death rate of 0.6 percent.
On COVID-19 vaccination strategy, Abayomi explained, “On Friday, May 28, 2021, we commenced the administration of the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine.
Given the requirement for achieving herd immunity (60% of the total population vaccinated), Lagos State still needs to vaccinate about14 a million people to reach this target, as is actively happening in many parts of the world, to collectively eradicate this global pandemic.
“Therefore, the government is considering several channels, including discussions with the Federal Government and the Private Sector, to ramp up the vaccination numbers.
“The administration of the second dose is in continuation of Phase 1 COVID vaccination that started on March 12, 2021. For anyone to be fully vaccinated, two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine are required with an interval of 6-12 weeks. The second dose will be administrated on working days (Monday to Friday) across our approved 88 health facilities till the 9th of July 2021.”
The commissioner, therefore, urged citizens who have received their first dose to proceed to the health facilities where they got their first dose on their scheduled appointment dates, which are clearly stated on the vaccination card that was issued.
He also advised them to avoid overcrowding and overwhelming the health workers by staggering their arrival at the vaccination site from between 8 am to 1 pm.
Abayomi reiterated that every vaccinated person should visit the health facility where they got their first dose with their vaccination cards so that the process is seamless, and their data accurately captured.
He also urged all persons who visit the health facilities to continue to adhere to the infection prevention and control measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“We must continue to wear our face masks in public, avoid large crowds and practise good hand and respiratory hygiene until about 60% of our population has been vaccinated to achieve herd immunity,” the commissioner stated.
However, as part of the strategies to curb the third wave, Abayomi said the state government will carry out the following activities: Ramp up testing and ensure all travelers carry out COVID-19 tests, introduce new PCR tests to determine variants of the virus for confirmed positives cases and those that turn out to be positive for variants will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine or till they clear the virus, utilizing EKOTELEMED to monitor confirmed cases and provide telemedicine services.
Others on life: “Enforce Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, that is, hand washing, social distancing, thresholds for public gathering, discourage super spreader events. ramping up its oxygen supply and logistics management, apply the new guidelines as published by the COVID-19 Presidential Steering Committee, PSC, for all inbound travelers into the country from India, Brazil, and Turkey, among others.