Over 1,000 returning travellers from red-listed countries – India, South Africa, Brazil, and Turkey – have absconded from isolation in Lagos State, the government alarmed on Monday.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, raised the alarm while giving an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and how the government is working to curb the spread of the disease.
He revealed that a total of 1,073 inbound passengers out of 88,847 who arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport between May 8 and August 21 – have tested positive.
Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that as of Saturday, the state has identified 5,998 of the returning travellers and successfully isolated 4,500 people who arrived from the red-listed countries, while 1,094 have absconded.
He explained that the COVID-19 protocols on mandatory isolation were put in place by the Presidential Steering Committee to protect Nigeria from an imminent third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor, however, decried that Nigerians who disregard the protocols and abscond from isolation were directly putting the rest of the country at risk of unending waves of the pandemic.
As of Saturday, Lagos had recorded 70,563 cases, out of which 60,716 have recovered in-community and 4,387 are being managed actively in-community.
Over the course of managing the pandemic, about 5,551 patients have been admitted into various government facilities with 506 registered fatalities.
Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that of these deaths, 135 have happened in the current third wave of the pandemic.
He blamed the emergence of the third wave on non-adherence to the laid-down health protocols designed to mitigate the pandemic.
The governor, therefore, informed the residents that they have a huge responsibility of contributing to the fight against the virus.
He hinted that the state government has taken substantial steps to arrest the third wave in its tracks, especially with the increased monitoring and enforcement exercise by members of the Incident Command structure.
But Governor Sanwo-Olu warned against recalcitrance on the part of the residents which he said led to the higher infection rates that were recorded in the state.
Read the full text of his briefing below:
Let me start by commiserating with all Lagos residents who have lost loved ones to the Coronavirus pandemic.
We share your pain and your grief. Every loss of life experienced is one too many, and the least we can do as a society and as a government is for us to redouble our efforts to defeat this devastating pandemic.
Much of the world —including the African continent — are now clearly in the middle of a third wave of the pandemic. From the start, Lagos State has been the epicentre of the disease in Nigeria, and that remains the case in this third wave.
The test positivity rate, which measures how many tests are returning positive, out of every 100 tests conducted, currently stands at 12.1%; compared to 1.1% at the end of June 2021, and 7% at end of July 2021.
We have identified that the third wave emerged on account of non-adherence to the laid-down health protocols designed to mitigate this pandemic. For this reason, it is essential for me to, once again, remind all of us of the huge responsibility we have to contribute to fighting and defeating this virus.
As a State Government, we have taken substantial steps to arrest this third wave in its tracks, most notable of them is the increased monitoring and enforcement embarked upon by members of the Incident Command structure.
Unfortunately, we have recorded severe recalcitrance on the part of the public, which has led to the higher infection rates that we are now recording.
The health and travel protocols and guidelines issued by the Federal and State Governments exist to protect and safeguard us all and the inconveniences that might come with them are only a small price to pay, to avert far more serious consequences.