Sunday, May 10, 2020 07:49 AM /By LASG/ Header Image Credit: @followlasg
Dear Lagosians, on Monday May 4, 2020, we commenced a gradual and controlled easing of the 5week lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic. Six days into this new phase, I am here to address you on our assessment of the experience so
Before that, I would like to give an update on the medical situation in Lagos State, since my last address to you.
This week has been unprecedented in terms of the numbers of newly confirmed cases in Lagos State. As at Friday May 8, 2020, we had 1,683 confirmed cases. Of that number, 448 have been treated and
discharged, while we have, sadly, lost 33 persons.
In the six days since my last address to you, while we have seen a 32% increase in the number of fatalities in Lagos State, and a 62% increase in the number of confirmed cases, we have also seen a remarkable 100% increase in the number of persons who have fully recovered.
This trend of recoveries is very encouraging, and we believe it will continue at this rate. It gives us some of the much-needed confidence to face the difficult days and weeks ahead.
Let me say, as I have said before, that the success of our efforts, at ramping up testing, is part of the reason why we are seeing a significant escalation in the number of cases in Lagos State.
Quite clearly, also, we are firmly in the community transmission stage of the infection, and the only way to be sure we are making all the right decisions is ensuring that we continue to scale up testing.
We now have four testing facilities in Lagos State, and we remain grateful to the NCDC and all other partners who are involved.
Our combined lab capacity is at about 850 tests daily. This is easily scalable to 1500 and 2000 subject to the availability of extraction kits considering the acute global shortage.
Lagos State has paid for over 20,000 extraction kits and has placed an order for another 20,000 in its bid to test at least 120,000 in the next 60 days.
50% of the backlog, I spoke about recently, has been cleared which is also responsible for the recent seemingly high rate of positive cases in the last couple of days.
Suppliers of kits are the manufacturers and their local representatives. However, the bid is open to any company with repute and integrity who can supply the desired kits to specification.
In this same vein, I have also mandated the state laboratory apparatus to commence the local production of certain items used for the diagnostic process and this has commenced already.
We have also started a biweekly procurement of laboratory needs to prevent running out of these materials going forward, until at least 120,000 tests are done in a about 2 months.
In addition to increasing Testing capacity, we are also actively increasing our isolation capacity. You will also see a change in our Isolation strategy in the weeks ahead, as we transition towards decentralisation.
What this means is that we will be introducing community management of cases, by accrediting and incorporating primary health care facilities and private healthcare facilities for the management of mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 patients. We must be careful to ensure that this is not done at the expense of the capacity required to handle other medical cases.
There is also the important task of ensuring that we are collecting all the right data and using these data to plan and to revise our response as a State.
I am pleased to note that Lagos State is developing an emergency digital response platform that will help us collect the data necessary for informed decision-making.
While we will continue to pay attention to the stories and experiences being shared in other places, I would like to assure you that the data we gather, and the safety of all of you the good people of Lagos, will continue to be the prime determinants of our decision-making.
Yesterday, the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, disclosed that our data modelling estimates that by July, we may have as many as 120,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in
That is a projection - it does not necessarily have to be our reality. However, the only way to ensure that projections do not become reality, is taking the projections as a warning, and using them to influence and modify our behaviour towards greater compliance and discipline.
As citizens, we have a great burden upon us, to behave responsibly. These times demand a lot from us, in terms of actions and behaviours that may not be comfortable.
To stay alive and well, we have to abandon old habits and customs, and adopt new ones.
Government also has its own responsibilities, which include making and communicating informed decisions to the public, for the good of all. Another important responsibility of Government is to find ways to minimize the impact of these disruptions on the lives of the people.
As I said in my last address to you, one of the major reasons for the controlled and gradual easing of the 5-week lockdown was to strike a balance between the protection of lives and the sustenance of livelihoods.
This is why, in collaboration with the Federal Government, we have carefully calibrated the reopening of critical sectors of the Lagos economy, while also ensuring that we minimise risk by
maintaining vital restrictions in other areas.
Five days into this gradual easing, we can look back and pronounce a verdict on the general levels of compliance in major sectors of our economy.
Let me start with the encouraging news. We have seen our manufacturing and construction companies gradually ease back into operation. We are happy with the level of compliance in this sector, as well as the beneficial impact of this limited resumption on our economy.
In the case of our intra-state commuting, and particularly with our BRT and LBSL Buses, and water transport operations, substantial compliance with the carriage policy of no more than 60 percent of maximum capacity was recorded. Markets and Mechanic Villages also demonstrated significant compliance.
In terms of open markets and stores, our directive was that food and farm produce markets will open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while markets dealing in other items will open on Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays. We have seen high levels of compliance in this regard, as well as in the maintenance of physical distancing and the use of face masks in the markets.
I must specially thank the leadership of our Market Associations, led by the Iyaloja and President-General, for the effort they have put into compliance.
There are still some areas in which improvements need to be made, but I expect that this will be achieved in the coming days. Our Monitoring Teams at State and Local Government levels are working hard to raise compliance levels to 100 percent.
In terms of the non-compliance, the list is regrettably much longer. On the first day of this new phase of an eased lockdown, the compliance level for commercial transport sector operations was
regrettably very low.
Yellow Buses especially, failed to comply with the capacity restrictions outlined in our framework. While compliance has improved in subsequent days, it is still not encouraging.
Many commercial motorcycle operators openly and indiscriminately defied the suspension.
The ban on Inter-state travel except for essential goods and services was also consistently flouted. In many cases people decided to make the final leg of the journey into the State on foot, to beat the
Trucks and other vehicles carrying items designated as essential, have also played major roles in flouting the guidelines, by conspiring to conceal and smuggle people in and out of the State.
The reports about mask usage in public places have also not been encouraging. Many people are still choosing to go out without masks or face coverings of any kind. This is simply unacceptable.
Let me reiterate that the success of this gradual easing of the lockdown is dependent upon the compliance of each and every one of us.
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.
I am aware that the Presidential Task Force has also made this point; that the continued maintenance of this easing is only guaranteed when people
Let the numbers we have seen this week stand as a warning to all of you the good people of Lagos State. What we are seeing is child's play compared to what we could be seeing if we continue to be irresponsible.
Before I close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our frontline medical workers. We will keep working on measures to support each and every one of you.
We have a psychosocial team tasked with the implementation of support systems and efforts to manage the very real potential for burnout and exhaustion in these times.
I must also especially thank our waste disposal teams, who do not always get the recognition they deserve for the work they are doing on the frontlines. A good number of them have been infected in the line of duty.
I would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you profusely for your service and assure you that we will continue to do everything to safeguard you, by ensuring that the protective equipment you need to do your work are always
available to you.
Let me finally use this opportunity to remind us all of the Whistleblower Hotlines that we have established, for people to report violations of the orders and restrictions we have issued. The Numbers are: 0901-051-3197; 0901-051-3198; 0901-051-3199.
We are guaranteeing strict confidentiality of all reports, and the full protection of the identity of all Whistleblowers.
Let us all play our part in protecting Lagos from this pandemic.
I thank you all for listening.
Governor of Lagos State
09 May, 2020