Over Non-Compliance With COVID-19 Guidelines
By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has threatened to re-impose total lockdown on the state if residents continue to flout guidelines established for gradual easing of lockdown which began on Monday in the state.
The governor, who gave an update on developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic management in the state, also directed the police to immediately begin confiscation of commercial motorcycles (Okada), for failure to vacate the roads this period, as earlier directed.
Sanwo-Olu said the state government, within the next few days might be compelled to take tougher actions, which include the review of gradual relaxation announced about a week ago.
He described as unacceptable, the poor compliance level with the COVID-19 protocols, including physical and social distancing, wearing of face masks, not exceeding 60 per cent carriage capacity in public transportation, especially by the yellow commercial buses, all of which were meant to check the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
The governor also ordered security agencies to turn back vehicles violating the restriction imposed on inter-state movements of persons.
He said, ‘’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 restrictions.
‘’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.’’
He lamented that, ‘’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 per cent increase in the number of fatalities in Lagos State, and a 62 per cent increase in the number of confirmed cases, we have also seen a remarkable 100 per cent 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.’’
He said the state government 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.
In collaboration with the Federal Government, he explained that the state government has 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.