•Warns against illegal testing centres
•Curfew remains 10pm to 4am
•Selected state workers still to work from home
•Records 10,639 cases, 177 deaths as at last count, Thursday.
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has announced the resumption of both public and private schools beginning from August 3, 2020 after over three months of lockdown due to outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
He however, said, only students in Senior Secondary School, SS3 and Technical 3, who have mandatory public exams ahead of them were permitted to resume at only day schools as soon as possible for revision classes and examination.
Governor Sanwo-Olu announced this on Friday, while giving an update on the COVID-19 situation report in the state.
He said, “All schools and educational institutions will remain closed. We continue to support online teaching of curriculum during this period. However, students in transitional classes, who have mandatory Public exams ahead of them are permitted to resume at only day schools as soon as possible for revision classes and examination.”
He stressed that all educational establishments were to follow established public health guidelines and protocol for re-opening the schools for those categories of students.
“For the avoidance of doubt, students impacted by this directive are those in primary 6; J.S.3 and S.S.3. Commencement dates for this opening will be announced after such schools have met the required guidelines and protocols and provision of essentials for both students and teachers alike. Tertiary Institutions are to continue their online academic activities which were at various advanced stages.
“In our Public Service, we will not be making any changes at this time but encourage our staff working from home to continue to improve themselves through the various online Learning Management Systems (LMS) portals that we have enrolled them onto in line with the circulars issued by The Head of Service. All restrictions applying to mass gatherings will remain in force. That is, no more than 20 persons permitted, and this includes funerals as well. Opening times for government and private offices, markets, supermarkets, eateries and so on, will remain as approved.”
Giving an update on the virus situation in the state, Sanwo-Olu stated, “At midnight on July 02, 2020, the state had recorded a total of 10,639 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 2,681 have fully recovered and have been discharged, while 177 have sadly died.
“We take very seriously the fact that we are the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. For us in Lagos State it is a constant call-to-action; a strong reminder of the responsibilities that lie upon us, to be aggressive and proactive in our response, and to show leadership on the sub-national level.
“In line with our promise to ramp up access to testing, we have now registered seven private laboratories to supplement existing testing efforts. Going forward, there will be two categories of people who qualify for testing for COVID-19 in Lagos State, as follows:
“The first category will be those who need to be tested; who fit the case definition for testing and therefore actually require testing. This category of people will continue to be tested free of charge by the State Government through our public laboratories, and everyone who meets the case definition for COVID-19 will be tested. What this means is that if you’re showing symptoms of the infection, or you have had contact with a confirmed case, or have been exposed to a location where confirmed cases have been reported, you are entitled to free testing by the state government.
Commenting on the earlier briefing by Presidential Task Force, PTT, on COVID-19 guidelines on the easing of the lockdown, he said: “The PTF announced that President Muhammed Buhari has approved the extension, with minor modifications, of the ongoing Phase of the Ease, for another four weeks, from June 30 until July 27, 2020.
“The nationwide curfew remains in force from 10pm to 4am, daily. Places of worship will remain closed in Lagos State, until further notice. All Social and Event Centers, and Social Clubs, will also remain closed, for now.”
He however, said a list of social clubs with verifiable trustees and governing board that have met strict guidelines would be released from time to time for supervised openings, as approved by the Governor on the recommendation of the Lagos State Safety Commission.
Sanwo-Olu said, “Only social clubs in possession of a valid Provisional Safety Clearance Letter from the Safety Commission will be permitted to open, and they will in addition have to comply with all hygiene and physical distancing measures. We will not tolerate any violation of this directive.
“All bars, day and night clubs, cinemas, games arcades, beaches and beach fronts, gyms and spas continue to remain closed. Eateries and restaurants are to continue to open as normal for take-out only. In-dining is still prohibited and a few defaulters in this regard will be shut down and prosecuted.”
Sanwo-Olu, announcing slight changes in operation, said hairdressing salons that have been accredited by the State Safety Commission may begin to open strictly on appointment basis only.
Communal sports facilities and the use of recreational parks in residential estates are now permitted to operate, with a maximum of 20 persons at any given time which he said was to promote wellbeing and wellness.
“Residents’ Associations are meant to strictly adhere to these guidelines in the interest of public health and the mantra of taking personal responsibility,” he warned.
On the reopening of airport, Governor Sanya-Olu said,”the Federal Government has approved the reopening of the Airport in Lagos for domestic operations from Wednesday July 8, 2020. The relevant Federal Agencies are putting out additional information to guide intending passengers and airport users; I enjoin everyone to look out for this information.”
He urged citizens to continue to observe safety guidelines and directives such as use of face mask, social distancing, regular wash of hands, among others.
“Our COVID-19 hotline, 08000CORONA is available round the clock for you to make reports, seek testing, and for infected persons to gain access to counselling and psychological support during the period of isolation and treatment,” Sanwo-Olu stated.