Omicron variant: Lagos to prosecute flouters of COVID-19 guidelines

Omicron, COVID-19

*Vaccination card compulsory for attending social gathering in Lagos — Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State Government says it will prosecute anyone found wanting in compliance with the current guidelines on travel protocols released by the Presidential Steering Committee.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said this on Tuesday in a statement, while giving the update on the management of Coronavirus in the state.

Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos State Government, in partnership with the Presidential Steering Committee, would commence the prosecution of those that refuse to submit themselves for the mandatory tests, by blacklisting their passports for a period of one year.

”All foreigners that flout the rules would be subjected to possible deportation.

”Therefore, I implore all intending inbound passengers to perform their required tests at any of the private laboratories within the Lagos State Private Laboratory Consortium as and when due,” he said.

The Incident Commander said that the current guidelines on travel protocols released by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 must be strictly followed by all passengers arriving in Nigeria.

The guidelines included COVID-19 PCR test to be done within 48hrs before departure; Post arrival Day 2 COVID-19 PCR test; All partially and unvaccinated individuals to self-isolate for seven days following arrival into the country and a Day 7 release PCR test.

They also included that all outbound passengers demonstrate evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19; and Negative PCR test result within 48hrs from the time to boarding a flight out of Nigeria.

He said that the regulation of Day 2 and Day 7 tests for inbound passengers for international flights were mandatory to assist Lagos State monitor the inflow of positive passengers, which it had identified as a veritable source of waves and community spread of the virus.

The governor also warned against intending outbound passengers procuring fake COVID test results and/or vaccination cards for travel purposes.

According to him, the state government is currently working with the NCDC, DSS and the Nigerian Police Force to investigate and bring to book the criminal gangs involved in this reprehensible activity.

”We implore everyone to desist from patronising these gangs, as anyone found with a fake COVID test result and/or vaccination card will also be liable to prosecution and very stiff penalties.

”Our State Mobile Courts will be used to prosecute all those involved in flouting the regulations; as well as those engaged in the fraudulent production of fake COVID test results and vaccination certificates.

”To this end, the Lagos State Ministry of Health is collaborating with various enforcement stakeholders from the Ministry of Justice and the Task Force to ensure prompt prosecution of these individuals,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos, like in other parts of the world, including Africa, was experiencing the beginning of a fourth wave with a current positivity rate of six per cent, which was against the positivity rates of 0.1 per cent, as of the middle of November 2021 in the state.

”Based on our analysis, the fourth wave was brought by the non-adherence to the laid down protocols to mitigate this pandemic.

”I would want to use this opportunity once again to appeal to everyone to get vaccinated and join hands with the Lagos State Government in managing this wave of the pandemic in this festive season by following the guidelines we have set, especially regarding the use of face masks, public gatherings and travelling in and out of Lagos State,” he said.

Lagos State Governor also at the briefing said that presentation of COVID vaccination cards is now compulsory for attendees of social gatherings in the state.

He said that as a measure of curbing the spread of the disease, every attendee of a social gathering MUST present their vaccination cards or digital bar code page showing at least first dose but preferably double dose full vaccination.

According to him, in unvaccinated people, a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) within 72 hours will be an exemption.

”All social events must be duly registered to obtain Event Safety Clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission website: prior to holding; and the guidelines set out below must be strictly adhered to.

”Where possible, events should be held outdoors and the occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 60 per cent of maximum design capacity of the event centre.

”Everybody, irrespective of vaccination status, MUST be subject to Rapid Diagnostic test (Antigen) to be conducted at the event venue or within 24hrs prior to the event at designated laboratories. (Request for rapid tests at the venue requires an application through the Safety Commission),” he said.

The governor said that since the persons under 18 years of age were unvaccinated, their temperature should be checked and persons with high temperature (above 37.5) would be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on ground.

He said that all guests and service providers at the event must wear a nose mask or face shield before entry and must endeavour to wash their hands before entering the venue or use hand sanitisers after which temperature checks should be carried out.

”Despite the huge financial obligation and constraints associated with managing this pandemic, our administration will continue to do everything within its power to ensure the preservation of the lives and livelihood of residents of Lagos State.

”I implore all residents of Lagos to comply with all guidelines and join hands with the government in the management of this pandemic,” the Incident Commander said.

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