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Lagos Govt. mandates compulsory test for COVID-19 violators

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Government has disclosed plans to make anyone apprehended for breaching COVID-19 protocols undergo a mandatory coronavirus test in addition to other sentences that might have been imposed by Magistrate and State Mobile Courts in the state.

It added that any offender found to have tested positive to the virus would immediately be placed under isolation at any of the isolation centres across the state pending when tests indicated that he had become negative.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, announced the plan in a letter written to respond to a resident’s complain and titled: Re: Communal spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos State and incapacity and unwillingness of the LASG to enforce compliance with COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

Onigbanjo, while responding to the complaint raised by the resident, who was identified as Mr. Uthman, on Saturday, alluded to claims that the state has the highest number of infections and sadly fatalities from COVID-19, saying, this is why the government is taking different measures to flatten the curve.

The Attorney-General added that the move was to aid other measures already put in place by to break the chain of community transmission of COVID-19 second wave in Lagos.

According to him, since the first index patient was confirmed last year, the government has intensified all efforts including reduction of working hours, closed all bars, gyms, lounges and cinemas; restricted restaurants to offering take-out services only; and closed worship centres.

He added that, after the second wave hit the country, the government limited number of people that could attend social functions/restaurants was reduced and event centres were mandated to get clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission before going ahead with any event.

Onigbanjo disclosed that the enforcement aided the arrest of 566 people found to have breached the COVID-19 regulations with 502 of the offenders convicted as well as 32 clubs and event centres shut down to serve as a deterrent to others willing to violate the laws.

“To further strengthen these measures, our prosecutors have started requesting presiding Magistrates to ensure that everyone apprehended for breaching the COVID-19 Regulations is made to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test in addition to any fine or sentence that might be imposed. Anyone who tests positive is immediately taken to one of our isolation centres”.

Aside from this, Onigbanjo assured Uthman that the state under the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is also the Incident commander, would continue to “monitor the situation of things closely and review the safety guidelines and we will intensify efforts on awareness for Lagosians to remain cautious in these unusual times”.

Part of the sensitization, he stated, was that the government has provided COVID-19 test free at State government test and sample centres across the state, adding that the government has also approved 20 private labs to serve as alternatives.

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