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Read Full Speech Of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s Update On Coronavirus

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Tuesday addressed Lagosians on the update of coronavirus in the state. 

Sanwo-Olu announced that the Lagos State Government had commenced contact tracing at the community level to reach more people who have come in contact with confirmed coronavirus patients.

Read the full speech below;

“My dear Lagosians, good afternoon.

Let me start by wishing you all a Happy Easter and blessings of the season.  I know that for many of us, this is not quite how we envisaged our Easter celebration.  The Covid-19 pandemic is a tremendous challenge for everyone globally, and for our common home.

I must say that the Easter celebration, which is at the heart of the Christian faith and which celebrates the triumph of life over death, acquires a much deeper meaning and relevance in light of the terrible COVID-19 pandemic.

Though we are facing tough and uncertain times, I would like to reassure us all that life will certainly prevail over death and sickness and we shall emerge victorious and stronger on account of our collective resolve.

This crisis, has however given us the opportunity to review and revise so many of our deeply held customs and traditions; to dig deep into the recesses of our minds and find innovative and daring solutions to our challenges.  We are now devising new ways of living, working, worshipping and transacting business. Fellow Lagosians, please be rest assured that the God who has brought us this far, will surely sustain us, guide us through and reconcile us with the new beginning, which will surely emerge after this Pandemic is over.

Fellow Lagosians, a lot has happened since the last time I addressed you.  It is, therefore, imperative that I section off today’s address into four major head topics: (1) Medical Update; (2) Federal Government Lockdown Directive; (3) Insecurity and (4) Palliatives.

MEDICAL UPDATE

On the medical side, since my last address to you on April 4, 2020, we have seen an increase in the total number of confirmed cases nationwide. Lagos continues to lead with the highest number of confirmed cases. Our numbers have gone from 109 as at the last time I addressed you to 198 as at today’s briefing. The number of persons who have died has also sadly risen marginally, from 1 to 7.

But we have also seen a remarkable number of recovered persons, 61 so far; with 3 transfers and 2 evacuations, bringing the total number of active cases to 109. What this shows is that while our numbers are definitely rising on the curve, we are also maintaining a 25-30% discharge rate of our active cases which unequivocally shows that our medical interventions and management of the cases are working.

In fact, today, we are discharging 9 patients – 3 females and 6 males, who have tested negative in two consecutive test readings.  They are now free to be reunited with their families. This will now bring the total number of discharged cases to 70.

Besides, we are boosting the capacity of our isolation centers to take up more patients. Overall, across all our isolation centres in Yaba, Onikan and LUTH, we have the capacity to admit 275 patients.  By next week, when we open the Isolation centers at Landmark and Gbagada General Hospital, we will have the capacity for an additional 220 beds, including 20 intensive care units.

In the last one week, we also commenced an active search for cases in communities across the state, all with a view to effectively track and trace community transmitted cases. This is important for us to do as we have seen a trend of community transmission in the number of recently confirmed cases, and with the population density of the state being what it is, it is thus imperative that we begin this next phase of identifying and managing new cases as quickly as possible.

It will therefore not be unexpected for you to be visited by a team from the Lagos State Government, Ministry of Health. Please give them accurate information in response to the questions they ask, which will be related to your health and travel history.

Also, note that they will not ask you for any money. COVID-19 testing and treatment is free and will remain so. Do not give any information relating to your banking or financial details to anyone, under any guise; and very importantly, do not let anybody into your home without seeing valid identification and a letter from the Local Government Area.

It would be good for us all to remember that we need the cooperation of our citizenry in this new phase of case identification and management.  It is therefore important that you all continue to stay home during this time so that we are able to reach all the intended persons of interest.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LOCKDOWN DIRECTIVE

Yesterday evening, we all listened to the nationwide address of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari who announced a further extension to the erstwhile directive restricting movement in the state.  This new 14-day extension, which will be in place till the 28th of April, 2020 will further give us the ability to quickly ramp up our identification; testing; isolation and admission of suspected and confirmed cases.

I can assure you that the decision to keep us on an extended lockdown could not have been an easy one for the President to take, given the fact that Lagos is the hub of economic activities in Nigeria.  However, the choice for us as I have always said, is to either willingly endure the pain and sacrifice of a controlled lockdown, or to be faced with a situation that is beyond our control.

This means that everyone must continue to stay at home, for the next 14 days, except the persons exempted by the Presidential Order.

The Presidential Order, however does not affect first responders such as our medical personnel, Fire Service personnel, and other providers of essential services who had hitherto enjoyed an exemption.  These categories of workers will continue to be exempted under the extended lockdown directive.

Let me also use this opportunity to reiterate that our neighborhood markets operating in our state public schools will continue to run as normal; same also goes for the exempted stores that sell food, water and other critical and essential life saving items.

For everyone else, please stay at home. This is not the time to go jogging or exercising on the empty roads. This is not the time to throw parties of any kind, not even within your house or elsewhere. This is not the time to think of going to church or mosque. We can and must at this period worship God in the comfort of our homes.

For the leaders among us, political, traditional, religious and community leaders, let me appeal to us, once again, that we should seek to lead by example. Let our words and actions reflect the seriousness of this pandemic, and let us set examples worthy of emulation by everyone. I will continue to urge all Lagosians to obey the directive in all its entirety. Let us not be found wanting.

But for those who insist on flouting these directives, you will have no one but yourselves to blame. Even as we have tasked law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint in their conduct, they also have clear orders to ensure that all those who seek to flout the rules are brought to justice. Let me say it again: there will be zero tolerance for disobedience of these directives.

INSECURITY

This brings me to the issue of the seeming rise in unrest in the metropolis and boundary communities.

It is very apt that we have just concluded an emergency Security Council meeting this afternoon, in which all the various heads of the state’s security agencies were present.  At this meeting, we discussed the increasing reports of crime and criminality across the metropolis as cultists, miscreants and other criminals have sought to take advantage of the lockdown to unleash havoc on our people.

One of our key responsibilities as an administration is the safety and security of the lives and properties of all citizens, and we will not abandon this responsibility at any time. There is no room whatsoever in Lagos State for criminal gangs or miscreants of any kind.

In fact, over 100 suspects have been arrested in the last 72 hours on account of disturbances.  All the suspects have accordingly been charged to court.

Let me assure you that those miscreants that you may have seen in the videos going viral are not hungry people; they are not acting on the basis of hunger. They are opportunistic criminals, and they will be treated as such by the law enforcement agencies.

We have been in close and constant communication with the Federal Government on this issue, and the I.G of Police has deployed a Deputy Inspector General of Police, who is a seasoned crime fighter, to Lagos as our Intervention Squad Coordinator to help devise and superintend over a superior strategy to curtail and stem the perceived and actual threat of violence.

With this revised strategy, you will see an increase in mobile police deployment in all trouble spots in the metropolis; as well as the police intensifying their patrols around residential areas, boundary communities, and other critical areas of activities during this lockdown period.  This will also be carried out in conjunction with other security agencies – Army; Navy; Airforce and Directorate of State Security Service.

PALLIATIVES

I will now talk about the various palliatives that we have rolled out to cushion the inevitable and harsh economic effect of the lockdown on our citizens.

Fellow Lagosians, as you all know, when we issued the first set of stay-at-home directives, I had announced a welfare package for the indigent and vulnerable segment of the society.  Though we encountered some hitches along the way, we have since revised the process and have now seen a marked improvement in the distribution of the relief packages, with the distribution being carried out in a dignifying manner that is fully compliant with all public health directives and guidelines.

In the first and second phase of the program, we were able to reach over 200,000 households which include the vulnerable, physically challenged and the elderly.  During this time as well, we were also able to feed a large number of the organized informal sector; junior members of the military and police force in Lagos; as well as minimum wage earners in the State’s public service.

As you are also aware, we announced a medical palliative for all those needing to access medical care during this lockdown as well as free childbirth services for expectant mothers.  I am pleased to announce that over 18,000 people have accessed free medical services in line with this directive, and we have recorded over 600 childbirths – all free of charge.

Fellow Lagosians, I am pleased today, to announce additional palliatives for our citizens to further ameliorate the inconvenience occasioned by this extended lockdown.

In the first instance, we will be rolling out the following measures:

In the next couple of days, we will commence a daily “Food Kitchen” program which will see us aim to feed about 100,000 people daily.  This will largely target the youths.  We are identifying local food vendors who will pilot this program and ensure that the process of cooking and serving of the meals adhere strictly to public health guidelines.

We are also cleaning up our data from our various social registers to get a clean list of truly vulnerable and economically challenged persons to enable us remit some cash to them.  We aim to do these cash transfers by the end of the week to a minimum of 250,000 indigent citizens.

Thirdly, I have just issued an order to the Police; LASTMA and the VIO to release all impounded vehicles arrested for minor traffic offences from the 1st of March 2020 to date.  This directive takes effect following the end of the lockdown.

I am also pleased to announce that all the MSMEs and SMEs who have taken LSETF loans and other government program loans will enjoy a three months moratorium.  This will further help to cushion the effect of the lack of economic activities occasioned by the lockdown.

Finally, let me use this opportunity to express our gratitude to all our health workers who have been on the frontlines of this battle against this unseen enemy. You will continue to be our priority at this time and beyond. Even as you work to protect us, we will protect you by making available all the resources you require.

Next, we would like to express our unending gratitude to all the faith-based organisations and private sector players that have worked with us on this journey thus far. Though it has been long and uncertain, we have had very worthy partners in you all.  This has shown us that the government cannot do this alone, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have been able to partner with you on this very important and life defining journey.

I also cannot end without saying a very big thank you to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, and the entire Federal Government, for their strong leadership, and exceptional support for Lagos State.

My dear Lagosians, as I end this address, let me once again remind us all that this is a season for obedience and personal responsibility. If we follow the guidelines as issued by the health experts and authorities, we will most certainly contain and defeat this virus. Please, let us cooperate with the government to ensure that we have an outcome that is favorable to all.

I can assure you that we will surely overcome this pandemic, and we will emerge stronger and more determined to transform the lives of all Lagosians and all the people of Nigeria, for the better.

I thank you all.

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