By Royal Ibeh,
As Lagos continue to record an increase in COVID-19 positive cases in recent weeks suggestive of a second wave, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has said COVID-19 positivity for inbound travelers coming into Lagos is on the rise with an increase of eight per cent this week alone and four per cent cumulatively. This he attributed to the large numbers of Nigerians in the Diaspora who are returning to spend the yuletide in Lagos.
Abayomi who disclosed this on Monday while giving update on the State Government’s response against the second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic at a press briefing in Lagos, encouraged inbound travelers to Lagos to ensure they self-isolate for seven days after arrival and submit self for testing at government accredited private laboratories upon expiration of the self-isolation period.
“According to the provisional quarantine protocol, all intending inbound passengers must test negative by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) done in the country of departure within 72 hours of boarding and are required to register via – http://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng and pay for a repeat (second) PCR test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria on day seven at an accredited lab of their choice. Passengers must also prior to boarding fill in an online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form located on the Nigeria International Travel Portal which must be submitted online or printed for presentation on arrival in Nigeria.
“On arrival in Nigeria, passengers must show evidence of payment with an appointment for a repeat PCR test in-country following which passengers will be cleared through the Nigeria Immigration Service. Passengers must then proceed on a 7-day self-isolation as per protocol and present at the designated accredited sample collection sites on the 7th day of arrival. Passengers who test negative after seven days will end self- isolation on the 8th day”, the Commissioner explained.
On how to live with the global pandemic, Abayomi said citizens would need to make lifestyle adjustments by adhering to all non-pharmaceutical interventions, adding that the lifestyle adjustment to be adopted by citizens would include adhering to all COVID19 safety protocols including proper and regular use of face mask, following social distancing guidelines and avoiding mass gatherings, imbibing and practicing regular hand and respiratory hygiene, submitting for tests if symptomatic, self-isolating if positive and presenting to an isolation centre for follow up.
The Commissioner noted that the State government would continue to educate and engage citizens on safety protocols and the need to take responsibility against the infection whilst also enforcing various guidelines and directives given by the government. He said, “We will deploy effective messaging and education via our various public information channels and platforms, while we enforce all guidelines through the respective state agencies”.
While explaining the changing profile of COVID19 disease, Abayomi attributed reason for the second wave of COVID19 to include, opening up of the economy; general laxity, false sense of security and non-adherence to safety guidelines by citizens; re-opening of schools; large religious congregations and social gatherings and entertainment.
Abayomi noted that the resolve to stop COVID-19 transmission amongst the populace is unshaken adding that the Incident Command System will continue to vigorously pursue all strategies and plans to ensure a COVID-19 free Lagos and Nigeria. “It is also important that citizens take responsibility and adhere strictly to safety protocols and government guidelines to curtail the spread of the infection”, he stated.