AMID the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed that an average of six deaths were recorded daily in the last one week, making a total of 42 casualties in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed this, yesterday, while briefing State House correspondents at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on the situation report and update on the management of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The governor also said the Astrazeneca and Moderna vaccines against the virus cannot be mixed, as the mixture has been confirmed to be dangerous to human health.
Sanwo-Olu said: "As I noted in my last address, on the 10th of July 2021, from the beginning of July we started to experience an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lagos State, with the positivity rate going from 1.1 per cent at the end of June 2021 to 7 per cent at the end of July 2021.
"As at August 1, 2021, the positivity rate in Lagos was 8.9 per cent. This is an 8-fold increase over the recorded figure a month ago, and it should rightly alarm all of us.
"This has resulted in 4,300 confirmed cases in July alone and 352 admissions into our isolation facilities.
"We dealt with the first and second waves and did our best to prevent a third wave. Now, that it is fully upon us, we must dig deep into what we have learnt from the previous waves, as well as summon the will to do everything necessary to bring down the numbers, on the way to eventually defeating the virus once and for all."
The governor, giving details on epidemiology, said, from the beginning of the outbreak in February 2020 to date, Lagos recorded a total of 64,032 confirmed cases of which 56,336 recovered in community, while 2,755 are currently being managed actively in community.
"Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 5,029 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos. We have, sadly, recorded 390 fatalities in Lagos State, 30 of which have taken place in this current third wave of the pandemic.
"Essentially, we have recorded on average 6 deaths per day since last week."
Sanwo-Olu stressed that due to huge population and rising number of confirmed cases, it became necessary for government to deploy telemedicine in managing positive patients with the launch of home based programme, driven by EKOTELEMED call centre service.
"If you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus, we encourage you to take advantage of this service by reaching out to EKOTELEMED on our toll-free number 08000EKOMED, 08000356633," the governor urged.
On vaccine distribution and access strategy, Sanwo-Olu added that following the receipt of the first instalment of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Federal Government, Lagos State administered 404,414 first doses and 243,374 second doses of the vaccine to residents.
"As of today, the percentage of residents of Lagos that have received two doses of the vaccine stands at 1 per cent. This is quite low, especially considering that we are now confronted by a third wave, and we are exploring all avenues possible to ramp up access to vaccination so as to reach our herd immunity target of administering vaccines to at least 60 per cent of the population of Lagos State," the governor stated.
Sanwo-Olu, who also disclosed that the country received four million doses of the Moderna vaccine on August 1, 2021, expressed optimism that as the epicentre of the virus, Lagos State would receive a sizeable amount of the allocation.
He continued: "This vaccine cannot be mixed with the AstraZeneca vaccine, so it will only be for people that have not been previously vaccinated. We are still expecting the second allocation of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and will inform you when it is received."
Inbound passengers to Lagos abscond
The governor explained that between May 8, 2021 and August 1, 2021, a total of 72,232 International Passengers arrived in Lagos via Murtala Mohammed Airport. Of the 72,232 travellers, 18 per cent could not be reached by EKOTELEMED because they provided international phone numbers, instead of Nigerian contact numbers.
He, therefore, implored all inbound passengers arriving in Lagos to endeavour to provide valid contact details to the authorities, so that they can be properly monitored.
"To manage the 3rd wave of the pandemic, EKOTELEMED will continue to focus on monitoring and tracking inbound travellers and cases in community. We will also not hesitate to impose sanctions and penalties on all those caught violating the rules," the governor warned.
Sanctions against quarantine defaulters
"As dictated by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), passengers from red-listed countries (India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey) are required to observe mandatory isolation. So far, we have successfully isolated 5,178 passengers in Lagos State. Of this number, 15 per cent have absconded.
"However, several travellers from red-list countries have refused to isolate and/or have absconded. This is reprehensible behaviour and has shown that these individuals are particularly reckless with no compassion for their fellow citizens who may be medically vulnerable. Patients, be reminded that this is illegal, and any unaccredited medical facilities caught taking in Covid-19 patients would be immediately shut down and penalized," Sanwo-Olu warned.
The governor urged all primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions to cooperate with the officials from the State Ministries of Health and Education to ensure the safety of all the people in their care saying there is currently an influx of school students who are on summer vacation into Nigeria.
"If not properly handled, this could be an amplifying factor for the third wave we are already experiencing in Nigeria.
"All our existing rules and guidelines around social and public gatherings are still in place and must be obeyed."