The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi has said that the Lagos State government has deployed the use of digital technology to track down on inbound travelers coming into the state so as to keep the state safe from the devastating effect of the third wave of covid-19.
Abayomi said this at the Lagos State Government Ministry of Health Annual Ministerial Press briefing on account of their activities in the health sector for the second year Anniversary of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration in office held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Lagos.
According to him, it is sad that the third wave of covid19 is having a devastating effect in countries like India, Brazil, and Turkey which demands that we track down on inbound passengers coming in to Lagos so to ensure that they are tested and isolated if tested positive of COVID-19.
He noted that Nigeria is at huge risk of 3rd wave, having only vaccinated less than 1 percent of its population, adding that India is witnessing a vicious 3rd wave despite vaccinating 8 percent of its population.
He said although the Federal Government has banned passengers coming from India, Brazil and Turkey to Nigeria, we cannot ban Nigerians from coming home, but such persons will go through elaborate test and if tested positive, will be in isolated in government owned facility with proper monitoring by the state government.
Prof Abayomi said that, “66% of the POIs in April had Lagos State as their final destination and about 28% either filled in no address within Nigeria or filled in a foreign address”.
He lamented that some of the in bound passengers give wrong information about themselves and their homes, stating that only 39% of inbound passengers were successfully reached and tracked by EKOTELEMED adding that 60% of in bound passengers give wrong information about themselves and that makes its hard to reach them.
The Health Commissioner said further that, “henceforth returnees will fill form before boarding and upon arrival, returnees go home and quarantine for 7 days and will be send welcome SMS with information about testing, and Covid19 test within 24 hours will now be mandatory.”
He said that returnees from India, Brazil and Turkey are to fill form before boarding and prepay for day 7 test on arrival. Mandatory isolation at Government approved facility (Bio security conditions apply and POI takes covid19 PCR Test with 24 hours).
He posited further that if any in-bound passenger is found to be negative, he or she will continue in the isolation in government approve facility and day 7, test will be repeated and if found negative, the inbound passenger will be discharged. For passengers found to be positive, the persons will remain in the isolation centre and test will be carried out until the test prove otherwise.
He added “Lagos state will ramp up testing in the state and for in bound passengers, we will ensure mandatory address and phone number verified, enforce test for all in bound travelers, PCR test to detect mutant strains, options of entry exist from quarantine day 3 or 5, location tracking for those in quarantine, increase surveillance by surge team and logistics, follow-up calls by EKOTELEMED, strengthen local government sample collection sites and enforce isolation and quarantine”.
He posited that the Lagos state strategy for curbing a potential third wave in the state include ramping up test and ensure all travelers carry out covid-19 tests and those positive will be subjected to a mandatory 7-day quarantine. We will also utilize EKOTELEMED to monitor and confirmed cases and provide telemedicine services and enforcement of no-pharmaceutical intervention and ramp up oxygen supply.
“We have two phases approach which include outsourced oxygen plants to private partner and Public private partnership from 700 cylinder per day oxygen plans as the hallmark of our approach to managing the 3rd wave will be oxygen therapy”.