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The rise in the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related fatalities recorded in the last one week presents a worrying trend of the third wave of the pandemic in Lagos State.
From the last week in July into the present month, the positivity rate in Lagos rose to 8.9 per cent, with frightening figures of hospitalisations and fatalities.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, briefed the residents on the development, confirming Lagos had been recording a daily average of six deaths at its isolation centres in the last one week.
The Governor, who spoke at the State House in Alausa, disclosed that there had been an eight-fold increase in infection rate in Lagos, resulting in 4,300 confirmed cases in July alone, while 352 patients were admitted into the State-run isolation facilities.
The situation, Sanwo-Olu said, called for improved vigilance and personal responsibility, urging the residents to reactivate the preventive protocols to break the cycle of infection currently ravaging the State.
He said: “From the beginning of July, we started to experience an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lagos, with the positivity rate going to seven per cent at the end of July. As at August 1, the positivity rate rose to 8.9 per cent, which is an eight-fold increase over the recorded figure a month ago. This has resulted in 4,300 confirmed cases in July alone and 352 admissions into our isolation facilities. The situation at hand should rightly alarm all of us.
“Let me make it clear that this necessary sense of alarm should not be responded to with panic, but instead with firm resolve and determination to reverse the trend. We must dig deep into what we have learnt from the previous waves, as well as summon the will to do everything necessary in bringing down the numbers to eventually defeat the virus once and for all. We have done it before and we can do it again.”
Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had fully reactivated the home-based care system, known as EKOTELEMED, through which officials deliver care packs to symptomatic patients who do not require admission in isolation facilities.
He urged residents feeling symptoms associated with COVID-19 to reach out to EKOTELEMED on its toll-free number 08000356633 for guidance, warning that only State-accredited healthcare facilities could manage COVID-19 cases.
The Governor expressed concern on the low vaccination rate in the State, pointing out that 161,040 out of the 404,414 residents who got the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine administered in March did not return for their second doses. He put the vaccination rate in Lagos as one per cent, which is far below the threshold set by the State to achieve herd immunity.
As epicentre of the pandemic, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos would soon be receiving a sizeable allocation of the Moderna vaccine already delivered to the Federal Government. The Governor said only those yet to receive any COVID-19 vaccine would get the Moderna jab when the distribution starts.
He said: “The Moderna vaccine cannot be mixed with AstraZeneca. For people who have already taken the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, they cannot mix it with the Moderna vaccine that has just been received. We are still expecting a second allocation of AstraZeneca vaccine before the end of August to vaccinate those who are yet to get the second shots. The distribution strategy would be based on appointment to avoid the exercise becoming a super spreader.”
The Governor said there would be a constant tab on in-bound travelers from the red-listed countries, warning that the Government would not hesitate to impose sanctions and penalties on those violating the mandatory self-isolation rules.
Sanwo-Olu said all existing rules and guidelines on social and public gatherings remained in place and must be obeyed. He directed public and private establishments, entertainment spots and worship centres to continue providing sanitising materials and ensure no person is allowed into their premises without the use of face masks.
He said: “We have incontrovertible evidence that wearing face masks help in slowing down the spread of the virus, particularly the now more dominant strains. We are no longer inexperienced, as we have learnt a lot in 18 months into the pandemic. We have been able to fine-tune our strategies and response, and we are now in a good place to ensure that this third wave is the final one. But we must put in the work, the compliance, the regard for rules and restrictions.”