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Over 9,000 foreign travelers from COVID-19 high-risk countries supply fake information

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed that no fewer than 9000 foreign travelers out of 50,322 in-bound passengers permitted entry into Nigeria through Lagos from four red-listed countries supplied the state government with wrong information, including residential addresses, telephone contacts, among other relevant data that could aid their tracking.

He explained that the 50,322 passengers allowed entry into the country from India, South Africa, Brazil, and Turkey on special recommendations, disregarded the new self-isolation guidelines imposed by the government to prevent possibly community spread across the country through false information they presented to the state government.

The governor noted that out of the 50,322 recorded figures between 8th May 2021 and 7th July 2021, only 2,386 travellers have been isolated in its various accredited hotels and facilities and that 15 percent of those who fall into the category have absconded.

According to him, a total of 50,322 passengers of interest arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Mohammed Airport between 8th May 2021 and 7th July 2021, and of the 50,322 passengers, 18 percent could not be reached by EKOTELEMED because of the provision of either wrong number or wrong Nigerian contact details to be reached on.

Giving a breakdown of the figure on Sunday during COVID-19 third wave outbreak update, Sanwo-Olu, who decried the development, noted that it was the responsibility of passengers to ensure they provide the right details for the state government in ensuring proper monitoring.

“Going forward, passengers that do not provide the right details, including a phone number they can be reached for monitoring and an address for isolation, will face serious sanctions including fines and imprisonment according to our Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021,” he said.

The governor disclosed that despite hard work and dedicated efforts towards sustaining the return to normalcy, over the last three months, the state has begun experiencing the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

“From the beginning of July, we started to experience a steep increase in the number of daily confirmed cases, with the test positivity rate going from 1.1% at the end of June 2021 to its current rate of 6.6% as at 8th of July 2021. The rapid increase within a week gives great cause for concern. Also, within the last two weeks, the occupancy rate at our isolation centres increased from an average of 1% to 6%. This is the new and disturbing reality that now confronts us.

“But we must not be demoralized by this. We must instead resolve that we will not leave any stone unturned in our bid to effectively mitigate the third wave of this pandemic in Lagos State. As you all know, Lagos has been the epicentre of the pandemic since the start, and the way we manage it here has a significant impact and reverberating effect on the national outlook and outcomes. So, Nigeria is counting on us in Lagos State to be resolute in our stand against the virus.

“We will continue to test aggressively. We will also focus on sequencing the samples we are collecting to ensure we are detecting and keeping track of the different variants in circulation. It is only by testing and sequencing comprehensively that we can collect the data required for informed decision-making,” he assured

On his administration’s COVID-19 management stewardship, he said, “as of the 7th of July 2021, Lagos State had recorded a total of 60,202 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 55,135 have recovered in-community and 770 are currently being managed actively in-community. Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 4,382 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos: with 357 registered fatalities.

“In all we have tested 563,679 samples in Lagos State since the pandemic started. Today we have 30 accredited testing centres: 26 private and 4 public health laboratories in the State, a significant improvement in capacity over the course of the past year.”

Sanwo-Olu, however, assured that the state would continue to work with all partners, across government and the private sector, to ensure permanent triumph over the deadly pandemic.

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