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COVID-19 cases may reach 39,000 in Lagos, if… – Commissioner

The Lagos State Government has projected that the numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state might reach 39,000, if good social distancing was not adhered to by the public.

Prof. Akin Abayomi
Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health

Prof. Akin Abayomi, the State Commissioner for Health, made this known while giving the state’s analysis of the COVID-19 update on Friday, March 27, 2020 in Lagos.

“Our mathematical modeling shows that worst case scenario we might have 39,000 cases in Lagos State; however, if we practice good social distancing, we can limit that to about 13,000,” he said.

Abayomi said adding social distancing to active constant tracing would help to reduce the cases further, noting that the figure was minimal compared to numbers of cases in other parts of the world.

“The figures may seem alarming at this point, but this is just to emphasise the importance to the Lagos Community to follow the instructions of the Incidence Commander to ensure they practice good social distancing.

“Social distancing is the key to bring the outbreak under control, because that way, we are not giving the virus the opportunity to spread from person to person,” he said.

The commissioner said the strategies of containment and social distancing utilised by the state was yielding positive results, adding that four weeks after the first case was recorded, it had been able to minimise the spread.

Abayomi said that if the state government discovered that the public was not adhering to its social distancing directives, the state council would meet and might have to make some other pronouncements.

According to him, out of the 44 confirmed cases in the state, 70 per cent were male, while 30 per cent were female, adding that 84 per cent of the imported cases were Nigerians.

He noted that most of the cases were local transmission that had contact with people that had travelled to high risk countries, with some cases that they couldn’t trace how they contracted the virus.

Speaking on the new confirmed cases in the state, he said that seven of the cases were detected among a 51 crew members of an oil and gas vessel.

He said all the crew members were tested after one of them tested positive to the virus, leading to detection of additional six cases, adding that the remaining six cases were quarantined on the vessel and receiving treatment there.

Abayomi also disclosed that the state had dispatched a team to Seme Border to rescue 16 Nigerian students stranded at the border.

“As expected, when we close borders, we see Nigerians fly to neighbouring countries and try to enter through the land border.

“We have a situation at the Seme Border; 16 students who are trying to enter Nigeria, what they are doing outside the border, we do not know,” the commissioner said.

He said that the team would meet with the immigration service at the border, and would evacuate the students based on the state governor’s order to one of the medical facilities in the state.

The commissioner said that the students would be evaluated and tested to assess their risk level.

Besides, he added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not approved the use of rapid test for COVID-19.

Abayomi, therefore, warned residents against patronising medical facilities for COVID-19 rapid test.

He stressed that accuracy of most of the test was about 30 per cent, adding that such results posed a high public health risk for the citizens.

Abayomi further advised the citizens to continue to practise good respiratory hygiene and constant washing of the hands with soap and water or use of hand sanitisers to prevent spread of COVID-19.

The commissioner reassured the residents that government was implementing various strategies to ensure containment of the virus and preserve the health of citizens.

By Oluwafunke Ishola

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