Lagos State has introduced more preventive measures to break the cycle of transmission of the novel coronavirus among residents.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, directed the State’s civil servants from Grade Level 1 to 12 to stay off office for 14 days.
They are to work from their homes, the Governor said at a press conference held at Lagos House in Marina.
The latest directive came two days after the State Government shut down schools and suspended public gatherings of more than fifty persons.
The measure followed confirmation of additional coronavirus cases across the nation on Sunday, with three more confirmed in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu said the stay-at-home directive did not affect the civil servants on essential duties and first responders whose levels fall in the cadres.
He said: “I am hereby directing that all public officers in the entire unified public service from Grade Level 1 to 12, which constitute about 70 per cent of our entire public workforce should stay at home from March 23, 2020 and this will last for 14 days in the first instance.
“We will review this measure as time goes on. Members of the public are advised to refrain visiting any of our public offices. They are to transact any businesses as it is possible on the phone or online channels. This stay-at-home order does not affect our first responders. Medical personnel, fire fighters, members of emergency services, those in waste management operations and all those on essential services are meant to still be at their duty posts.”
The Governor pleaded with private companies across the State to employ similar measures in curtailing the spread of the virus, urging them to allow non-essential staff to stay off duties for the same period.
He said the Government was not unaware of the economic impact that had attended the outbreak of COVID-19 in the State, promising that his administration was ready to cushion the effects on the vulnerable residents.
Sanwo-Olu, however, frowned at non-compliance to social distancing order by some organisations, including religious houses, stressing that disobedience to the Government’s measures may aggravate the spread of the virus.
The Governor said law enforcement agencies would be embarking actions that would drive strict compliance to measures initiated by the State to protect members of the public.
He said: “I want to reiterate that the Government will frown at any organisation, whether public or private, that is not obeying this directive. The social distancing directive is not a religious matter; it is a matter of morality and civic responsibility. Times like this call for heightened commitment to doing the right thing. Our law enforcement agents are to ensure that there’s strict compliance to this important public health tips.”
Sanwo-Olu re-assured residents that there was no cause for panic, saying his administration remained fully prepared to work with the Federal Government and international healthcare agencies in containing the spread of disease in Lagos.
He said the treatment and eventual discharge of the index COVID-19 patient from Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba was a testimony to the commitment by the State Government to break the cycle of transmission of the virus.
As part of proactive steps being taken in the case of escalation in number of patients, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had identified locations across five traditional divisions in Lagos to build isolation centres where patients can be treated.
He disclosed that other secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities in the State would be deployed to support the capacity of IDH in Yaba, adding that the Government had started to set up isolation centre in Gbagada General Hospital.
He said: “As part of our strategy to strengthen our efforts, more health workers are also being trained and we have put some of our retired nurses and doctors on notice, who will come to support health personnel who are working tirelessly at this time.
“We will not relent in our determination to battle this coronavirus to a standstill. We are sure that we will win this battle as we have always won in Lagos. With the cooperation of the people towards obeying the public health guidelines, I believe this epidemic will also pass by us in no time.”