The Lagos State Government says it will enforce the Coronavirus Pandemic Law against defaulters to ensure the protection of citizens against the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, the State Commissioner for Health, spoke on Wednesday at a media briefing on the Lagos COVID-19 Third Wave Mitigation Strategy.
Abayomi said the state government would take the law seriously, adding that enforcement was key to mitigating the third wave of COVID-19 infection in the state.
According to him, the law confers on the state governor the right to order the quarantine, imprisonment, sanctions and fines for individuals, who deliberately disobey the law and endanger lives of citizens.
The commissioner said that the state had evolved five strategies for curbing a potential COVID-19 third wave in the state, listing the strategies as testing and isolation of travellers.
He listed others as, use of EKOTELEMED for monitoring of positive cases, enforcement of non-pharmaceutical interventions of handwashing, physical distancing, discouragement of super spreader events and thresholds for public gathering.
Abayomi said that the state would deploy the strategy of ramping up oxygen supply and pharmaceutical intervention of increasing number of vaccine doses administered by leveraging the private sector.
He said that over the past months, there was a significant reduction in the numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Abayomi, however, noted that many countries were still experiencing a vicious second or third wave of the pandemic.
He said that possible triggers of the third wave were general laxity, false sense of security and non-adherence to the guidelines, upcoming religious holidays, COVID-19 fatigue and entry of mutations and variants.
According to him, mutation of the COVID-19 virus and new strains was a natural phenomenon, adding that the new strains could enter the country through incoming travellers.
The commissioner said that the Federal Government had banned non-Nigerians from India, Brazil and Turkey from entering into the country.
“However, given the deep ties that Nigeria has in these countries, some amount of in-bound traffic is still expected.
“To this end, Lagos State Government is proactively setting parameters that will guide the management of passengers of Interest (POIs) from the listed countries,” he said.
According to him, 51 per cent of the POIs were Nigerians, while India and China accounted for about 44 per cent of all POIs in April.
He said all inbound travellers from the three countries would be tested upon arrival, isolated and tested again on the seventh day to ascertain their COVID-19 status.
Abayomi said it had been observed that many travellers that tested negative upon arrival eventually test positive on day seven.
He said that the second PCR test conducted on travellers that tested positive was to know the kind of COVID-19 strain that the person had, either UK, Brazil, South African or India strain.
Abayomi said that Lagos had received another 57,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccine from the Federal Government, in addition to the initial 507,000 doses.
He said these vaccines would cover 28,000 people for two doses, among which are the POIs, their families and close contacts to form a buffer of immune individuals and prevent the spread into the communities.
Abayomi said that the state would commence administration of the second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the next two weeks.