COVID-19: Lagos orders closure of markets, courts, parks, others

March 24, 2020
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THE Lagos State government on Tuesday ordered the closure of all open markets and stores, courts, all public parks, including those in private and residential estates, swimming pools, gyms, beauty salons, among others in the state for seven days in the first instance.

This was just as the state government enjoined organised private sector to follow the steps of the public sector and allow as many workers as possible to work from home while urging banks and other financial institutions in the state to prioritise online channels for their services to the public; with only essential and key senior staff being in the office during these times.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave the fresh order while addressing newsmen at the State House, Marina, shortly after the meeting of State Security Council meeting which he chaired.

The governor said the new set of directives became imperative following an increase in the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus nationwide with Lagos leading the pack with the greatest number of newly confirmed cases.

The governor, it would be recalled, had last Sunday, March 22, 2020, ordered that civil servants on Grade Level 1- 12 must stay back from office and work from home for the next two weeks.

“Fellow Lagosians, today I have some further new directives and guidelines to share with you, as follows:

“The organised private sector is hereby encouraged to follow the steps of the public sector and allow as many workers as possible to work from home.

“Banks and other Financial Institutions are encouraged to prioritise online channels for their services to the public; with only essential and key senior staff being in the office during these times.

“The Chief Judge of Lagos State has been directed to ensure that all magistrate and high courts in Lagos State close immediately to the public and suspend all court sittings; and much as is possible, essential services should be transacted electronically.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: Tinubu lauds Sanwo-Olu over stay-at-home order to civil servants

“All public parks, including those in private and residential estates, swimming pools, gyms, beauty salons, and all such public places are expected to shut down at this time, until further notice.

“All open markets and stores are directed to close, except for sellers of food and medicines, medical equipment and other essential life-saving products.  For those that fall into the aforementioned categories, it is imperative that they observe necessary precautionary measures of social distancing,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The governor equally urged that all travel to and from Lagos, whether by air or by road, be avoided at this time, saying that the Federal Government had already advised residents of Lagos and Abuja to stay put where they were.

Governor Sanwo-Olu reiterated that citizens should as much as possible refrain from inter-state travelling of any kind until the worst of the crisis was over.

“I urge that all travel to and from Lagos, whether by air or by road, be avoided at this time. The Federal Government has already advised residents of Lagos and Abuja to stay put where they are, and I would like to reiterate this in the strongest terms possible. As much as possible let us all refrain from inter-state travelling of any kind until the worst of the crisis is behind us,” he said.

Giving an update of the ravaging virus, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State had witnessed a significant jump in the recorded numbers from 19 as at the last time he addressed the state on the matter “on Sunday, to 28 as at today’s briefing.”

“This shows that our numbers are increasing as predicted, but we are also proactively and promptly tracking, isolating and managing the suspected cases; as well as the confirmed ones at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba.

“I am pleased to note that all our confirmed cases, bar the ones that have since been discharged, are doing well and are all in stable condition,” he said.

Speaking further, the governor said: “As I mentioned, last time I spoke to you on Sunday, we are identifying other isolation centres across our five divisional zones of Ikeja; Badagry; Ikorodu; Lagos Island and Epe to ensure that we have a seamless and coordinated approach towards the quick identification and isolation of suspected cases without overwhelming the mainland infectious diseases hospital in Yaba.”

Sanwo-Olu warned against gatherings or congregations of any kind at this time, saying that should there be any need for such, the number must not exceed 50 persons.

According to him, “Now is not the time to be meeting friends, planning playdates, planning weddings or planning any other social event.  Stay home and stay away from gatherings as much as you can help it!

“Anyone caught flouting any of the above directives as well as the previously issued directives will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. As I mentioned, law enforcement agencies and other relevant Lagos State protection agencies have been imbued with the power to deal with recalcitrant offenders.  We will not relent in ensuring strict compliance with our directives.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those who have complied with our stay home order and other directives thus far.  I urge you to continue in that vein. Let me also specially thank the road transport workers who have heeded our call on implementing social distancing within their parks and vehicles; as well as the various heads of the open market associations (the iyalojas etc.)

“I thank you for sensitizing the people in your various vicinities and associations. This is a collective effort and with your cooperation, we will achieve the desired goal of trapping this disease in its tracks and prevent it from escalating into an unimaginable outbreak.

“Fellow Lagosians, as I mentioned previously, these are indeed changing times and we need to act responsibly and with an urgent sense of duty to ensure that we take the precautionary measures seriously and do what is the right thing in the circumstances.

“I am not unaware that the directives issued thus far have wide-ranging effects and restrictions on your personal freedom, as well as your fundamental human rights; however, as you can imagine, the constitution or any law for that matter never quite envisaged the coronavirus pandemic, so at this time, the doctrine of necessity is being invoked to allow us to roll out these restrictive measures to protect and secure our state and its people.

“Now, let me conclude by saying this. Lagos State has always shown incredible strength and resilience in the face of so many challenges, and this is what makes us different as a people.  I am assured that we will win this battle, with your support and confidence and most importantly by the special grace of the Almighty God.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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