COVID-19: Why Lagos may declare total lockdown soon – Sanwo-Olu

Sanwoolu briefing the media

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed the possibility of his administration shutting down the state totally soon if the cases of people testing positive to Coronavirus, COVID-19 continue in the state.

Sanwo-Olu also announced an economic stimulus package for the vulnerable and indigent in the state aimed at cushioning the effects of various stringent measures to curb the spread of the disease in Lagos, considered as epi-centre. Also read: Woman alleges persecution of husband over APC official car Meantime, Sanwo-Olu has signed Emergency Coronavirus Pandemic Bill 2020 into law.

The state House of Assembly had on Thursday, passed the Coronavirus Bill 2020 for Governor’s assent. The governor spoke and asserted his signature to the bill into law on Friday, while addressing newsmen on the update of COVID-19 management in the state, held at Lagos House, Marina, Lagos Island. He stressed that the state government was moving in the direction of total shutdown once a particular figure was arrived at, but he did not disclose the figure.

His words: “We are moving in the direction of curfew soon, there are numbers we need to see before that will happen but we have not seen that yet,” he said The governor, urged residents to stay indoors if they were not on essential services, saying that government did not want to shut down the state’s economy totally, but warned that once that certain figure was reached, the government would have no option than to shut down the state.

The governor added that at press time, Lagos had recorded 44 confirmed cases so far, while three people had been discharged. Sanwo-Olu lamented that there had been an increase in confirmed cases which had reached 44, with six additional cases recorded in a vessel in Lagos on Thursday. He said with three people already discharged, the government was looking at discharging five or six more patients who had now tested negative. Sanwo-Olu said once they recorded a confirmatory negative test, they would be discharged which is likely to be Friday night or Saturday.

The governor, also disclosed that 14 Nigerians students who were stranded at the land border have been allowed into the state and immediately taken to Isolation Centre for the test to determine their status and if found negative would be allowed to join their family who had already been contacted. He, however, noted that Ikeja and Eti-Osa Local Government Areas have the highest cases of suspects undergoing tests at isolation centres in the state. According to the governor, the stimulus, which will come in food packs, to be distributed to each 57 local government areas in the state, aimed at cushioning the effect of the 14 days stay-at-home directive.

Earlier, the governor had conducted an on-the-spot assessment of one of the State-owned food banks, located inside the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in Agege. Sanwo-Olu said the economic stimulus will reduce the burden of the temporary economic downturn on the citizens caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. The governor said the food packs, which were put together by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will reach the most vulnerable communities and households across Lagos, saying that the indigents who rely on daily wages will be given priority.

The governor stated that the package will touch at least 200,000 households in the first phase, saying the food packs are produced for the size of six people per household and would last for at least 14 days. ‘’We have packaged dry food stimulus for about two hundred thousand families in the first instance for a household of husband, wife and about four children. “We would be giving bags of rice, bags of beans, cassava flakes (garri,) bread, dry pepper and we are trying to see if we can add water and some elements of vitamin C. Each ration, we believe is going to be able to last them at least minimum of 14 days just so our advocacy around stay at home, stay will your loved ones will be respected.

‘’This is a catalytic initiative of our administration with the hope that well-meaning corporate organisations and private individuals can step up to complement the efforts of the government,” Sanwo-Olu said. He explained that the state government would be working with the existing database of the state – using the Lagos State Social register and 4000 community development association register in 377 wards for the distribution at first instance.

On the Coronavirus Bill 2020, Sanwo-Olu said, it would further enhance the measures already put in place to tackle the challenges of COVID-19 spread in the state. Recall that the State House of Assembly, on Thursday passed the emergency bill to help the state combat the Coronavirus, pandemic. The bill, which was passed in record time, sponsored by Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, affords the Governor to spend an initial N20 billion to effectively contain the virus and enforce compliance by residents.

The bill also gives the governor the opportunity to make recourse back to the house before any regulations. The bill also stipulates a fine of N100,000 for defaulters, one-month imprisonment in the correctional centre or three months community service. Where the offence is not spelt out, it attracts N200,000 and also allows the leadership of the various arms of government to structure their own restriction format. Section 8 of the Bill makes provision for the Coronavirus Trust Fund.

The bill further empowers the governor to declare a state of emergency of up to three months if the situation requires so. Sanwo-Olu, also said the government had opened about 50 temporary markets in public schools in the neighbourhood where people could purchase foodstuff at a cheaper rate, saying that the markets would be opened every two days.

The governor, therefore,  appealed to residents to refrain from gathering in large number, saying he expected maximum compliance from the residents. Sanwo-Olu added that the state government had begun fumigation of public places, such as parks, bus stops, among others, saying that the exercise would last until Sunday. Vanguard

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