All tertiary institutions in Lagos State are to shut down with immediate effect. The order was pronounced on Friday by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during a live broadcast on the Coronavirus update in the State.
The Governor, who is the Incident Commander on Coronavirus, also announced proscription of large assemblage of people in any form to halt the spread of the disease.
Sanwo-Olu started by acknowledging that it was a trying period for leaders and citizens all over the world, noting that the virus had impacted every part of the globe negatively, with a heavy toll on human beings and the global economy.
He said: “The impact has been enormous, on households, healthcare systems, global supply chains, and the global economy.
“On February 27, 2020, Nigeria recorded its first case of the Covid19 disease, an Italian who landed in Lagos from Istanbul. Since then, the number of confirmed cases in Nigeria has risen to 12, so far.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said it is not surprising that Lagos, being the most populous State in the country, has been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
He however assured that the Government was ready to combat the virus, saying the State was fully prepared weeks ahead of the first reported case in the country.
He said: “We are also extremely prepared and capable of containing the threat that the Coronavirus represents. Our bio-secure isolation facility at the Mainland Infectious Diseases Hospital, Yaba is equipped and able to contain the disease.
“As the Chief Incident Commander of Lagos State, it is my duty to update you regularly on this disease, and on the steps we are taking, in Lagos State, to fight it, working in close collaboration with the Federal Government and other partners, including the private sector.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said there are 11 confirmed cases in the State, with eight among them under isolation and in admission in the biosecurity facility in Yaba.
The Governor also announced that the index case has tested negative, and will be discharged soon.
Sanwo-Olu said the rapid spread of the pandemic necessitated the immediate suspension of all gatherings of more than 50 persons as well as closure of all Public and Private schools in the State with effect from March 23, 2020.
He said: “You will all agree with me that these times call for us all to act responsibly and abstain from all large outings or gatherings of any kind, be they academic, family, professional, political, religious or social.
“In South Korea, and Singapore, the disease spread largely through organized religious gatherings. The issue is of course not religion, but that the virus can spread through any large assemblage of people or gathering.
“To protect and save lives, law enforcement agencies, especially the Police, have been directed to enforce compliance with the directive against any assemblage of a large number of people at any location.”
The Governor urged Lagosians to support the Government in its effort to defeat the scourge, pledging that an economic stimulus would be announced after the State Executive Council meeting next week.
He said: “The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced a stimulus package that will open up new credit lines to the businesses and sectors most affected by the Coronavirus. We expect that Lagos State, as the economic hub of Nigeria, will benefit significantly from these interventions.
“Under the auspices of the National Economic Council, at which I represent Lagos State, we have established a Special Committee that is working with the Federal Government to design a coordinated national economic response that fully addresses the social and economic implications of the Coronavirus disease.”
The Governor warned residents against spreading of fake news and misinformation about the disease.
Sanwo-Olu said: “At times like this there will be a lot of false, misleading and unverified information circulating, especially on our phones. These pieces of information are often designed to cause panic, and end up doing more harm than good, to the society at large.
“We all have important roles to play by not disseminating or amplifying these messages. We must pay attention only to genuine information as disseminated by the relevant Federal and State Government authorities.”