Dear Lagosians, it has been two weeks since we commenced a gradual and controlled easing of lockdown instituted to halt the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As at yesterday, Saturday May 16, 2020, Lagos State had 2,373 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Of that number, 541 have been treated and discharged, while we have sadly lost 36 persons. This leaves us with 1,796 active cases of Covid-19 under management in the State.
Lagos remains the epicentre of the outbreak in Nigeria. We are seeing and will continue to see a gradual increase in cases, on account of the fact that we have moved into active community-based transmission phase of the outbreak.
We will, in response to this, continue to aggressively expand and decentralize our testing, tracing and treatment capacities. We are also increasing collaboration with the private sector to scale up in various areas: testing, case management, strategic planning, and logistical support.
Even though we have also felt the impact of the global shortage of reagents, I am still happy to note that we have been able to ramp up supply and ensure that these very critical components of the testing process are always available. As a result, we will be seeing increased testing as we go into the weeks ahead.
As you know, I have always been keen to share with you heart-warming and encouraging news regarding our situation in Lagos State.
First is that the disease profile in Lagos appears to be mild to moderate, with a minimal number of deaths from respiratory failure. Most of our patients recover under our supervision and are discharged. Because of this, we are now considering isolating and managing some of our asymptomatic and mild cases at the primary healthcare level.
8. In the same vein, we are increasing the capacity and capabilities of our primary healthcare facilities to offer this community-based care for such mild/asymptomatic cases thus freeing up the Isolation Centres for the more severe to critical cases.
I am equally pleased to note that last week; our medical personnel at the Gbagada Isolation and Treatment Center successfully delivered a Covid-19 positive patient of a baby, by Caesarean Section – the 3rd such case of successful delivery by a Coronavirus patient in Lagos.
We remain very proud of the heroic work of all our frontline Covid-19 personnel. The work you are doing is no doubt a great personal sacrifice on behalf of Lagos State, Nigeria and humanity.
This appreciation also goes to all our support workers: drivers, attendants, cleaners, waste disposal staff, and so on. Without the work that you do we would not stand a chance of containing this pandemic. As a government we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that you are fully protected and rewarded for your service.
Dear Lagosians, in my address to you on the 3rd of May, 2020, I noted that, in line with the decision of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, this controlled-easing period would last for six weeks, in three phases of two weeks each.
We have now completed the first two weeks, and are moving into the second phase of two weeks. Let me make it clear that all of the directives we issued for the first phase will continue to apply in this second phase.
It is also important for me to say that we have begun wide- ranging and extensive consultations with our various stakeholders ranging from the religious organizations; traditional rulers and the Organized Private Sector.
These consultations would form the back bone of a wider and robust framework that will govern a further opening up of our economy in the weeks and months ahead.
Part of the things we however want to immediately begin to implement is the preferential treatment to be given to our old age/senior citizens (60 & above) who require access to essential services such as banking, grocery and market services.
In this vein I would want all of our financial institutions, open and closed markets, and stores to give preference to the senior citizens by opening up their banking halls and stores from the hours of 9:00am-10:30am and allow them transact their business and do their shopping.
It is important to give this priority to our elderly ones so that they have a set time in the day to transact their business, do their shopping and head back home in good time without being unduly exposed.
As I mentioned earlier, in the coming weeks we would be gradually easing back our economy to its full capacity of operation. To do this, we will be mandating and strengthening some of our State agencies like the Lagos State Safety Commission and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency to begin the enumeration process of registering and issuing compliance guidelines for all businesses.
What this means is that our agencies will be going around to inspect the various businesses and facilities for their level of preparedness to operate in full and complete compliance with the new guidelines that will govern a full reopening of our economy.
I must however caution that this should not be interpreted to mean that a full reopening of the economy is imminent. Rather, the message to be passed across is that we are considering, reviewing and putting in place the necessary processes for a complete, but controlled reopening of our economy.
As you are all aware, it will not be business as usual for a long time to come – this means that we cannot continue to operate as we did pre-Covid. We will therefore, in the new era, start to operate with an utmost and renewed understanding and appreciation for public health and safety above all else.
We will continue to keep you informed and updated on the decisions that are taken for the public health and safety of all of us. Managing this pandemic requires careful balancing of health and economic considerations, and we will pursue this balancing with a great sense of responsibility.
Let me also quickly touch on the compliance levels we have recorded in the past two weeks in the various sectors of the economy that have been opened.
Based on our review, we have seen improved levels of compliance around the open and non-food markets. Although we believe the compliance can still be improved upon.
We are, however, not happy with the level of compliance recorded on the yellow buses; even with the repeated assurances that we have received from their unions.
I must however commend the high occupancy vehicles that have complied with the directives on physical spacing of commuters in the vehicles as well as ensuring hand hygiene at the bus stops. They have been complying very well and we are very happy with what we have seen thus far.
Regarding face masks, while we have seen many people adhering to the rule to wear a face mask/covering in public; unfortunately, we have seen quite a number of people openly flouting this directive. I must reiterate once again that you must wear a face mask in public, as it not only protects you, but also protects others you may come into contact with.
As I mentioned in the last address, people need to start taking responsibility for themselves and their loved ones. Self-regulation is the order of the day, and you should not wait for the government to regulate you or your conduct, even though they will be doing so, you must ensure as matter of responsibility, that you are self-regulating yourself in the interests of yourself and loved ones.
Let me thank our Monitoring Teams at the State and Local Government levels for their efforts so far, and charge them to not relent in the quest to ensure full compliance.
I would also like to use this opportunity to thank all of our security agencies – the Police; the Military; the Department of State Security and the Civil Defence Corps and others – for the maintenance of law and order as well as helping to enforce our various directives.
I would also like to restate something I said in my last address. I quote, “As a Government, elected to uphold the security of Lagos State – and this includes health security
–let me make it clear that we will not hesitate to review the terms of this easing if we continue to see evidence that Lagosians are determined to flout the rules.”
Our message is a simple one: Lagosians should not take this easing of the lockdown for granted. There are reports that some gyms, barbershops, beauty salons and spas are secretly starting to reopen, or to solicit customers, in violation of the explicit directives that they are all to remain closed at this time.
Let me be clear, these facilities and businesses are to remain shut until such time as when they have been fully inspected and accredited; and a certificate of compliance and readiness to open issued by the relevant Lagos State agency. Any reopening before that, will attract stiff sanctions and penalties.
We will not hesitate to shut down any businesses that defy our directives, and to prosecute the owners, in line with the laws of Lagos State.
I would also like to thank all of our whistle blowers who have been sending us reports of alleged violations which we have also been investigating and reacting to.
I will continue to encourage whistle-blowers to contact our hotlines to report violations. The Numbers are: 0901-051- 3197; 0901-051-3198; 0901-051-3199. As always, strict confidentiality of all reports is assured.
I thank you all for listening.
Governor of Lagos State
17 May, 2020