By Florence Onuegbu
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has warned that the gradual easing of the lockdown commencing in the state on Monday was not a license for all to flood the streets.
Sanwo-Olu, who gave the warning on Sunday while giving update on the management of COVID-19 in Lagos, said there would be zero tolerance against the flouting of safety directives by residents.
“The gradual easing of the lockdown which commences tomorrow is not a license for Lagosians to flood the streets. We are not going from zero to hundred.
“I would caution that we still remain at home, if we truly are able to continue to work remotely and away from the office. We should only be out, unless it is absolutely necessary to be out.
“As I have always said, we are not in normal times, and these challenging times will very likely be with us for some time to come,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that the only way forward was the path of discipline and sacrifice; strict adherence to all directives and guidelines regarding personal hygiene, movement and public behaviour.
According to him, the gradual and controlled easing of the lockdown will last for six weeks, in three phases of two weeks each.
He said that the goal was to enable the state achieve a balance between the protection of lives and the sustenance of livelihoods.
The governor said that following each phase, the Federal and State Governments would review the situation and further adjust the response.
He said that starting tomorrow, Monday May 4, 2020, for the next two weeks, there would be a curfew across the state from 8p.m. to 6a.m. daily.
According to him, all movements in and out of Lagos is prohibited, except for people carrying out essential services or transporting essential products such as agroproducts, petroleum products, relief items, construction materials and registered courier services.
He said that all public servants in the entire Lagos State Public Service were to remain at home on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Sanwo-Olu said that from Tuesday, May 5, 2020, only critical staff on Grade Levels 15 and above, and who had also been specifically adjudged as critical staff by their Accounting Officers would be expected to go to work.
“Frontline workers across all levels are, however, expected to continue working.
“In the same vein, all staff of the local government and local council development area offices in the state are expected to remain at home at this time, unless directed by their LGA or LCDA chairmen.
“All open markets and stores will be allowed to operate on alternate days between the hours of 9a.m. and 3p.m.
Markets and stores selling food items will open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while markets and stores selling all other items, excluding food, will open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Private sector companies and businesses will be permitted to operate within a limited framework.
“What this means is that any offices and businesses that choose to open are allowed to open only between 9a.m. and 3p.m. daily; and must limit the number of staff on the business premises to no more than 60 per cent of full capacity at any point in time,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu encouraged companies to operate flexible systems such as combining a work-from-home policy with shifts for staff who had to be in the office.
He said that banks should offer full complement of services to the public, manufacturing and construction companies to operate between 9a.m. and 6p.m, while such company that had to operate outside these hours must obtain a waiver from the Lagos State Government.
According to him, eateries and restaurants will be allowed to open between 9a.m. and 7p.m, but only for take-out and delivery services. No in-dining services will be permitted.
“All places of worship, formal or informal, are to remain closed from any form of assemblage or congregational services, until further notice.
“All schools, at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, remain physically closed.
“Private school proprietors and parents/guardians are encouraged to meaningful dialogue regarding the delivery of education through various online and digital channels, and very importantly, the cost implication of same.
“All recreational parks, spas, salons, public gyms, swimming pools and sporting facilities shall continue to remain closed until further notice.
“Hotels are to remain closed till further notice. However, those hotels being used by the state government to accommodate frontline medical personnel, as well as those hotels designated and being used as quarantine and isolation centres are wholly exempted from this directive.
“Any hotel that is not exempted from this directive, and is found to be open or operational will not only be sealed, but will be prosecuted by the Lagos State Government,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that commercial/commuter operations within Lagos State shall be between the hours of 6a.m. and 7p.m. daily.
“This applies only to motor vehicles. All commercial motorcycle operations in Lagos State are hereby suspended until further notice.
“Tricycles operating in unrestricted areas must not carry more than two passengers per trip.
“All of the above directives and restrictions I have outlined must be underlined and accompanied by the following mandatory practices of the use of face-masks everywhere in public and strict adherence to personal hygiene practices.
“Nose and mouth must be covered when sneezing or coughing; hands must be washed or sanitized regularly; and no handshakes or hugs,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state government had launched whistleblower hotlines for full enforcement of compliance, adding that penalties and sanctions awaited anyone found contravening the directives.
”We are encouraging all Lagosians to be on the lookout for those who flout these orders and directives, and to report them to the Hotline, by calling or sending a text message to the following numbers: 09010513197 or 09010513198 or 09010513199.
“We will investigate all reports, and ensure that we take appropriate action. Penalties and sanctions will be accordingly meted out to all those found contravening the directives,” he said.
Meanwhile, while responding to questions from the media on patients getting reinfected, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that due to the nature of the virus, patients who had been discharged are advised to still observe self isolate for 14 days, to avoid being reinfected.
“That has occurred in the past, where we had few people who turned negative, and when we retest them, they turned positive for a few periods of time before they turned negative again.
“That is generally the nature of how this virus infection behaves. So, we advise them to still self isolate for the period of further 14 days when we discharged them, even though they are negative.
“They should refrain from excessive contacts with other people because we can’t keep them for a very long period of time,” Abayomi said.
penalties and sanctions would be meted out to anyone found contravening the directives.(NAN)