Firstly, I would like to commiserate with all Lagos residents who lost their loved ones during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hearts go out to you and the Incident Command System will continue to do everything that we can to mitigate the impact of this pandemic.
Secondly, most of the continents of the world – including Africa – are now experiencing a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, Lagos State is not left out as 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.
Based on our analysis, the fourth wave was brought by the non-adherence to the laid down protocols to mitigate this pandemic. 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.
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.
Let me take this opportunity to, once again, urge all residents of Lagos State to take advantage of EKOTELEMED and our home-based care programme. Please, reach out to EKOTELEMED on our toll-free number 08000EKOMED (08000356633) if you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus.
Based on the review of the current guidelines on travel protocols, the Presidential Steering Committee has released new rules which must be followed by all passengers arriving in Nigeria. These include:
1. A COVID-19 PCR test to be done within 48hrs before departure.
2. Post-arrival Day 2 COVID-19 PCR test
3. All partially and unvaccinated individuals to self-isolate for 7 days following arrival into the country and a Day 7 release PCR test.
4. All outbound passengers to demonstrate evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19
5. Negative PCR test result within 48hrs from the time to boarding a flight out of 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.
Regulation of Day 2 and Day 7 tests for inbound passengers for International Flights
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.
Based on this, we will commence the prosecution of those that refuse to submit themselves for these mandatory tests by blacklisting their passports for 1 year.
This would be carried out in partnership with the Presidential Steering Committee. In addition, all foreigners that flout the rules would be subject to possible deportation. Therefore, I implore all intending inbound passengers to perform their required tests at any of the private laboratories within the Lagos State Private Laboratory Consortium as and at when due.
Fake Covid Test Results And Vaccination Cards
It is also pertinent to mention at this point that we have received very disturbing information about intending outbound passengers procuring fake Covid test results and/or vaccination cards for travel purposes. 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.
Our State 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.
Up until today and into the future, the Lagos State Government is still offering free COVID-19 testing at all our public facilities for those that fit our case definition for COVID-19 infections. If anyone has any symptoms indicating a possible infection, please proceed to any of our public laboratories to get tested. We are also still operating our 10 sample collection sites at the level of our LGAs and encourage residents to proceed to these centres to get their samples taken if they feel ill or have been exposed to anyone who has an infection. It is also important to reiterate that our private laboratories are still available for those who want to test outside of the public health response.
I am also very happy to announce that the Presidential Steering Committee, in partnership with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health, has approved the administration of booster doses for anyone with the criteria below:
1. Any persons 18 years and above;
2. Time interval of 6 months or more after receiving the second dose of Astra Zeneca, Moderna or Pfizer Bio-N-Tech; or
3. Time interval of 2 months or more after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Consequently, all Lagos residents should proceed to any of our public health facilities to receive these vaccines for free and at any of our 30 private priority health facilities to access them for an administrative fee of N4,500 per dose.
Mitigating the Fourth Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Our approach to mitigating the effects of the ongoing wave of the COVID-19 pandemic include the following:
Increasing the percentage of vaccinated residents of Lagos State from 1.6% to 30% within one year. I have specifically mandated the Lagos State Ministry of Health to administer 8 million doses to 4 million residents by the 25th of December 2021 under the Count Me In campaign. We have deployed a robust strategy that involves the private sector to improve access to vaccines.
We are launching 30 private priority sites for those who want to be vaccinated within a private health facility. While vaccination at public centres remains free, there is an administration fee (N4,500 per dose and N6,000 for two doses) at private centres. To register for the vaccination, please visit the registration portal at https://nphcda.vaccination.gov.ng/
Over the next couple of days, the Lagos State Government will release policies to facilitate the uptake of vaccines to achieve desirable herd immunity.
Guidelines for Social Events and Gatherings During the Festive Period
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; and the guidelines set out below must be strictly adhered to.
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.
In unvaccinated people, a negative PCR within 72 hours will be an exemption.
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).
Under 18 years of age are unvaccinated and the above applies.
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.
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.
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. As always, I would like to thank all members of our Emergency Operations Centre and our Incident Command System, in addition to all our health workers in the public and private sectors, without leaving out our colleagues in the federal institutions for their dedication and commitment in the management of this response. Once again, I implore all residents of Lagos to comply with all guidelines and join hands with the government in the management of this pandemic.