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Lagos to make public wearing of masks compulsory next week

.Decries stigmatisation of infected persons, says over 1m homes tested so far

.To open Gbagada, Landmark isolation centres today

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, announced that the state government will make wearing of face masks compulsory in public places in the metropolis.

He stated this, while updating newsmen on latest developments in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, at the State House in Marina.

Sanwo-Olu equally decried discrimination and stigmatisation against persons who have either tested positive to coronavirus, or those who have recovered from the disease, adding that two more isolation centres – Gbagada and Landmark, will be opened today (Tuesday).

He equally said over one million homes had been reached so far in the state’s current drive to scale up community and house-to-house testing of persons.

He said: “We have recorded 70 new cases, making a total of 379 cases, 93 discharged so far and unfortunately, 14 fatalities have been recorded. The increased trend in infection is as a result of increased inflow from neighbouring states, where some of these people want to or choose to stay in our facilities for expert medical care. I just want to assure Lagosians that there is no need to panic.

“The increase in number as recorded is equally due to improved strategy and testing of individuals across the various Local Governments in the state. We have expanded testing across the Local Governments. As testing goes further into the communities, cases are expected to increase.

“So far, we have been able to reach over one million homes in our community and house-to-house testing of persons, and we still intend to reach more homes in earnest.”

Regarding the 67 Nigerians who came in from Benin Republic via Seme border recently, and were quarantined by the state government, the governor said he was happy to announce that they had all been certified negative and would be discharged today (Tuesday) to reunite with their families.

He, however, added that 23 other persons had come in from Seme border, who had been tested, and two of them found to be positive. He said these two people had been isolated and are being treated.

On the issue of stigmatisation, he said: “People decline to subject themselves to either testing or submit themselves for treatment, rather choosing to do by themselves at home, basically due to stigmatisation and discrimination against them by members of the public. I want to say this action in itself, is dangerous and and grievous. It has grave consequences as our health workers and government would not be able to render necessary assistance.

“Let me state that COVID-19 is not a death sentence and Isolation centres are not death centres. There have been tremendous reports of recoveries from these centres. I urge those who have symptoms to subject themselves for expert care,” he said.

He called on members of the public to shun discrimination and stigmatisation against infected persons, adding that two new isolation centres in the form of Gbagada and Landmark Isolation Centres will be open today (Tuesday).

Sanwo-Olu stressed that from next week, after due production and distribution, the wearing of face masks will be compulsory in public places across the state. He appealed to members of the public to shun the purchase and use of N19 medical face masks, saying that this particular mask was meant for medical personnel only.

Oyo Police caution residents against false distress calls

The governor stated that aside the ongoing palliative measures that had been put in place by the state government, there were plans to introduce financial/ cash palliatives as soon as possible. He said appropriate data was being compiled for this purpose.

He thanked security operatives in the state for their doggedness and commitment. Of particular note, Governor Sanwo-Olu thanked DIG Moses Ogunyemi, who was drafted to Lagos by the Inspector General of Police during this period.

Regarding the Ramadan fast, to be observed by Muslim faithful, and which would commence soon, he implored Muslims to be law abiding and maintain strict adherence to already laid down laws and procedures by the government, as the state would be strict in ensuring full compliance with the laws of the land.

He asked the media to be sure to disseminate accurate reportage to the public. He appealed for verification of facts, which he said, was the responsible thing to do and asked people to avoid nonessential movement, with strict observance to the law.

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Augustine Aminu

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