4th Wave: Sanwo-Olu tightens COVID-19 protocols enforcement with new directives


…as offending travellers, event attendees, others to face sanctions on defaulting

By Moses Adeniyi

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has revisited the enforcement of the relaxed COVID-19 protocols in the State with new directives.

This is just as the Governor has noted the need to prevent an uncontrollable 4th wave of the pandemic as the yuletide festivities approach.

Sanwo-Olu who said most of the continents of the world – including Africa – are now experiencing a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Lagos State is not left out of the possibilities.

“We are also experiencing the beginnings of a fourth wave with current positivity rate at 6%. This is against the positivity rates of 0.1% as at the middle of November 2021,” he observed,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu who reeled out new guidelines on Tuesday, observed that based on the State’s analysis, the fourth wave was brought by the non-adherence to the laid down protocols to mitigate the pandemic.

On epidemiological update he disclosed that as of the 5th of December 2021, Lagos State had recorded a total of 78,564 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“Of this number, 71,977 have recovered in community and 612 are being managed actively in community. Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 6,066 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos: with 686 registered fatalities,” he said.

Travel protocols

He mentioned that the State Government will do all within its power to ensure full compliance to the new review of the guidelines on travel protocols, by the Presidential Steering Committee which must be followed by all passengers arriving in Nigeria.

“It is important to note that the review of the protocols was based on science, national experience and global developments.

“The Lagos State Government will do all within its power to enforce these new mandates and will prosecute anyone found wanting in compliance with them through our mobile courts,” he said.

On regulation of the Day 2 and Day 7 tests for inbound passengers for International Flights he said: “While it is a stringent requirement that all inbound passengers perform a Day 2 test within 48 hours of arrival into the country; and an additional Day 7 PCR test for all partially or unvaccinated inbound passengers, we cannot stress enough how important the strict adherence to these protocols are.

“These tests are mandatory to assist the State monitor the inflow of positive passengers, which we have identified as a veritable source of our waves and community spread.”

The Governor disclosed that the Government would commence the prosecution of those who refuse to submit themselves for the mandatory tests by blacklisting their passports for one year.

On fake COVID-19 test results and Vaccination Cards, he said “This is a very worrisome trend for us to note and we are currently working with the NCDC, DSS and the Police to investigate and bring to book the criminal gangs involved in this reprehensible activity.

“We implore everyone to desist from patronizing these gangs, as anyone found with a fake COVID test result and/or vaccination card will also be liable to prosecution and very stiff penalties.”

On the guidelines for social events and gatherings during the festive period, the Governor directed that all Social Events must be duly registered to obtain Event Safety Clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission website (www.lasgsafetyreg.com prior to holding).

Other guidelines set out for strict adherance include: Where possible events should be held outdoors; Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 60% of maximum design capacity of the event centre; Every attendee of a social gathering must present their Vaccination Cards or digital bar code page showing at least first dose but preferably double dose full vaccination, while for unvaccinated people, a negative PCR within 72 hours will be an exemption.

The guidelines state further that that everybody, irrespective of vaccination status, must be subject to Rapid Diagnostic test (Antigen) to be conducted at the event venue or within 24hrs prior to the event at designated laboratories. (Request for rapid tests at the venue requires an application through the Safety Commission).

The above applied for under 18 years persons who are unvaccinated.

Also, guests and service providers with high temperature (above 37.5) “are to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on ground.

While all guests and service providers at the event must wear a nose mask or face shield before entry, all guests and service providers must endeavour to wash their hands before entering the venue or use hand sanitisers after which temperature checks should be carried out.

“Hand sanitisers to be positioned at the entry point and different spots within the venue,” the Governor directed.

He added that the State’s Mobile Courts will be used to prosecute all those involved in flouting the regulations; as well as those engaged in the fraudulent production of fake covid test results and vaccination certificates.

He however commiserated with all Lagos residents who lost their loved ones during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, while assuring that the State’s Incident Command System will continue to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this pandemic.

“Despite the huge financial obligation and constraints associated with managing this pandemic, our administration will continue to do everything within its power to ensure the preservation of the lives and livelihood of residents of Lagos State,” he said.

He implored all residents of Lagos to comply with all guidelines and join hands with the government in the management of the pandemic.

His words: “I would want to use this opportunity to, once again, plead with everyone to get vaccinated and join hands with the Lagos State Government in managing this wave of the pandemic in this festive season by following the guidelines we have set, especially regarding use of face masks, public gatherings and travelling in and out of Lagos State.”

He further urged all residents of Lagos State to take advantage of EKOTELEMED and the home-based care programme in any case of symptoms associated with COVID-19 or having tested positive for the virus.