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Sanwo-Olu puts churches, mosques reopening on hold indefinitely

By Idowu Abdullahi

Worried by the possible community transmission of coronavirus during religious gatherings, the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has suspended planned reopening of churches and mosques and other religious centers across the state.

It explained that the need to protect Lagosians and consolidate on gains being recorded against the virus after spike in confirmed cases of coronavirus across the state necessitated the decision.

The Governor noted that said since Lagos remains the epicenter of coronavirus in Nigeria, there is a need for caution despite the gradual reopening of te economy, noting that the state accounted for 44 percent of the total number of confirmed cases nationwide.

Sanwo-Olu who announced this on Tuesday, while giving an update on COVID-19 situation report at the Lagos House, Marina, disclosed that Lagos had recorded a total of 7,319 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 1,137 recoveries and 82 fatalities, adding that 6,100 active cases were currently being managed in the State.

He added that the surge in cases of the virus was expected and part of measures to flatten the curve was to suspend planned reopening of religious houses, saying the current situation demands the approach.

“Dear Lagosians, in the most recent guidelines which we issued on the gradual easing of the lockdown, based on the advice of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, I noted that we would shortly be permitting the restricted opening of religious houses, on the condition of strict compliance with detailed guidelines issued by the Lagos State Safety Commission.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation since then, and have now concluded that we cannot proceed with any form of re-opening for places of worship in Lagos State, until further notice.

“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, it is simply in line with our ongoing evaluation of evolving scenarios regarding the course of the infection in Lagos State and the corresponding public health advisory guidelines issued by the experts. We are now hereby suspending, with immediate effect, the plan to re-open religious houses and places of worship in Lagos State, until further notice.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and continue to base our decision-making on data modeling; as well as on the responsibility we have to act in a manner that ensures the protection of all o you the people of Lagos State. Therefore, until further notice, all places of worship in Lagos State will remain closed. Social and events centers, and social clubs, will also remain closed, for now.” the governor said.

According to him, the government will stop at nothing to safeguard the health and wellbeing of Lagosians, noting that all safety measures could only be effective when people themselves act responsibly and shun acts capable of undermining public health guidelines.

“We will, as always, continue to keep you informed and updated on the decisions that are taken for the public health and safety of all of us. This means that, while the Government maintains its responsibility to take protective decisions for the common good, what will ultimately save us all and defeat this virus are the sensible personal decisions that we take on a daily basis.

“Decisions to use masks anytime you are out of your house, to avoid non-essential travel, to stay at home when we don’t have any business being outside, to wash or sanitize our hands regularly – these are the simple but necessary steps that will save and protect us all.

“One of the most important tasks that we face as a government is to carefully and responsibly balance the competing considerations of life and livelihood, and one of the most important tasks before you as citizens is to abide by the decisions that have been taken for the good of all of us – even when it is not easy to do so,” he said.

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