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Lagos Govt. to place lesser hajj pilgrims under compulsory 7-day self isolation

By Baraqat Adegbola

The Lagos State Government has disclosed that all residents of the state participating at the 2021 lesser hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia will be mandated to proceed on seven-day compulsory self-isolation to prevent community transmission of coronavirus across the state.
It added that the move was to ascertain that the pilgrims, who had been in Saudi Arabia for over two weeks, have not contracted the virus while performing the religious rites in the country.
Among those participating in the ongoing pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia were the National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, Chief Press Secretary to the Lagos State Governor, Gboyega Akosile, and several other politicians that thronged the holy land for divine interventions from their creator.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed the move on Wednesday at a press briefing held at the ministry in Ikeja, said that though the country has a better COVID-19 preventive measure, Lagos cannot bend the rule for anyone as the third wave knocks on the door.

Abayomi noted that the Governor has recently passed into law the Lagos State Coronavirus Pandemic law, 2021 which gives the Governor the right to order a quarantine and allow for sanction for anyone who flouts the law.

“For passengers returning from other counties, we are more relaxed however, there are still restrictions, all of them still have to comply with the seven-day isolation but they can isolate at home where we will be monitoring them and ensure that they observe the mandatory seven-day isolation before they leave their home environment”.

He pointed out that there will be severe sanctions for inbound travellers and POIs who flout the protocol or the State COVID pandemic law stressing that providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out the online form is an offence punishable by imprisonment or heavy fines or both.

He said, “Section 11 of the new gazette of the Lagos State Coronavirus Pandemic law, 2021, the Governor has the right to order for a quarantine of a person or group of persons to be quarantined until it is safe for such quarantine order to be lifted in Lagos State. According to section 17 of same law, if passengers break the quarantine rules, they may face a penalty of up to N300,000 and/or one-year imprisonment”

While noting that general laxity, false sense of security, and non-adherence to COVID guidelines, COVID fatigue and entry of mutations and guidelines are the possible triggers of the third wave infection, Abayomi averred that enforcement of non-pharmaceutical interventions of facemask use, social distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding mass gatherings, PCR testing and isolation if positive, is key to mitigating COVID third wave.

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