Few days after the Lagos State Government announced the possible third wave of COVID-19 in Lagos, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu Wednesday warned that the whole country was at high risk of a surge in COVID cases.
Ihekweazu, in a chat with Vanguard, said the risk was even higher with the emergence of the Delta variant which is more transmissible.
Noting that the pandemic was still active in the country, he urged Nigerians to be aware of the risk and to take responsibility to protect their lives, loved ones, and the economy.
Ihekweazu who warned that the impending rise in fresh COVID cases in the country was imminent with what had been observed in other countries across the world and in Africa, however, said there was a window of opportunity to prevent a surge in cases, but it requires strict public adherence to public health and social measures.
“We have seen a slight increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Lagos State, and remain grateful for the State Government’s proactive leadership in recognising this risk.
“Please wear a face mask when you are in public settings, maintain physical distancing and wash your hands regularly. We also appeal to businesses, schools, religious homes, and other settings to ensure that these measures are obeyed at all times,” he stated.
On vaccines, the NCDC boss said the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection, hence, the need for people to get vaccinated in addition to adhering to public health and social measures.
Ihekweazu said the NCDC has been working with the private laboratories approved for COVID-19 travel tests, to carry out genomic sequencing of COVID-19 positive cases among travellers, in addition to the routine genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory and with the African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Redeemers University, Ede.
He, however, stressed that the responsibility to prevent a surge in cases was not with the government alone, but requires adherence to public health and social measures by all members of the public.
UNILAG shuts campus indefinitely
In the wake of the alarm it raised on Tuesday, the management of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, has announced the indefinite closure of the campus from Thursday, 15th July due to the spread of COVID-19.
This is as the institution directed that students should leave the hall of residence, noting that henceforth, lectures will be conducted online.
A statement by the Dean of Students Affairs, Mr. Ademola Adeleke titled “Immediate closure of hostels to check the spread of COVID-19 on campus,” the school management said the step was to check the spread of the disease.
“To check the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the University Senate has directed that all students vacate the halls of residence latest by 12.00 noon on Thursday 15 July 2021.
“No access will be granted to any student after 12.00 noon on 15 July. The hostels will be locked indefinitely therefore students are advised to move all their personal effects at once. Lectures for the rest of the semester will be delivered virtually with effect from 26th July 2021.”
In another statement, the Head of the Information Unit of the school, Mrs. Nonye Ogwuma, explained that the university commenced physical lecture at end of May 2021 when the positivity rate of the COVID-19 infection dropped to about 1 percent.
“The University Management continued to enforce the COVID-19 protocols in all the teaching and learning spaces as well as the student halls of residence.
“In addition, the COVID-19 vaccination was made available to the staff and students through the support of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council.
“Lately, some students have tested positive. These students have been sent to the appropriate designated facilities in the State and contact tracing has enabled us to identify those who have had exposure and directed them to isolate.
“The situation is, indeed, worrisome especially noting the reluctance of the majority of students to comply with the COVID-19 prevention protocols.
“To avoid the escalation of cases on campus, the University Senate at an emergency meeting held on Wednesday, 14th of July 2021 approved that all students vacate the halls of residence by 12.00pm on Thursday indefinitely. “Lectures for the rest of the semester will continue to be delivered virtually with effect from 26th July 2021,” she remarked.
LASU on alert
In a related development, the management of the Lagos State University, LASU, through the Coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, CIPPR, Mr. Ademola Adekoya, explained the various steps put in place by the management to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The statement, titled: “A potential third wave of COVID-19 pandemic: Management mandates compliance with protocols” said: “Lagos State government over the weekend announced the possibility of a third wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“This is as a result of the recent increase in the number of positive cases being reported and increase occupancy rate at the Isolation Centres. This has necessitated the need for proactive measures to mitigate the spread of the infection on our campuses.
“The University Management, therefore, mandates all members of LASU community to adhere to all the preventive protocols as designed by NCDC to curtail any spread.
“The measures include; Compulsory & Proper use of facemask in public places. Regular handwashing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based sanitiser, maintenance of physical distance of two metres, maintenance of 50 percent occupancy rate of halls, classrooms, offices, worship centres, etc, temperature checks at entrances.”
Osun warns residents against the spread of Delta variant
Meanwhile, the Osun State Government has warned residents to comply strictly with safety protocol and adhere to the non-pharmaceutical guidelines in order to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode, enjoined citizens to continue to take personal responsibility for their own safety, adding that non-adherence to safety protocols among citizens may produce unpleasant outcomes.
“The government of the State of Osun is advising its residents not to let down their guard or be lured into a false sense of security that the world is totally out of the grips of COVID-19.
“The arrival of the new Delta variant is a signal that we cannot let down our guard. It has ushered in the third wave in other parts of the world, and its strain has been found in Nigeria – as a matter of fact, in Oyo state.
“Therefore, we cannot pretend that Osun is an island considering our people engage in trade and social activities with this neighbouring state.
“We should also be aware that the new variant has a high rate of mutation and it is deadlier. The worse part is that it does not have exactly the same symptoms as the variants experienced in the first and second waves.
“It presents just as body ache, devoid of dry cough and fever. So we need to be mindful of the symptoms and go to the hospital when we feel unwell.
“Those who have taken the two jabs of the vaccine should note that the vaccine reduces their susceptibility but doesn’t rule out their chances of contracting and infecting others who have not been vaccinated.
“Everyone should protect himself at all times by putting on a face mask in public places, avoid crowded spaces, disinfect hands and surfaces with an alcohol-based sanitiser,” the statement read.