The private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has handed over a 150-bed ultramodern isolation centre to the Lagos State Government as part of continuing partnership between the private sector and the government in the fight against COVID-19.
The isolation centre, which is located within the precincts of the Lagos State’s Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Yaba, was commissioned on Sunday evening by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Sanwo-Olu said the new isolation centre will increase the capacity of the state to further deal effectively with the Coronavirus noting that the location of the new isolation centre within the precincts of the state’s intensive care unit fits more into the synergy of the state government.
According to him, Lagos has demonstrated strong capacity to deal with the pandemic and the support from CACOVID as well as other coalitions, individuals and groups have been helpful in the fight against the virus.
“This facility will certainly add to our capacity and enable us to do a lot more in scaling up. This centre will see us building an international infectious disease- research centre, isolation wards, doctors’ quarters and we will also commission a private sector led morgue. We are excited that people can come here, get well and go back to their respective homes,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He noted that the state government is working on multiple strategies to scale up testing and treatment of COVID-19, including adoption of home-based and community-based isolation and treatment for low to mild cases.
“In Lagos, we have seen slightly about 10,000 positive cases and we are managing them. We have seen 1,500 discharged individuals from our isolation centres whilst we have seen about 5,000 who have gotten. This speaks volumes of how well we are combating the pandemic,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the launch of the new isolation centre would help in boosting the capacity of Nigeria’s healthcare system towards containing the spread of COVID-19, especially in Lagos state.
He said the unprecedented shocks from COVID-19 require that all governments and the organised private sector must work together to address the challenges in order to preserve lives and restore economic activities in the country.
According to him, the efforts to contain the spread of this virus has had unprecedented impact on the global economy and indeed the Nigerian economy with global growth expected to contract by over 4.9 per cent in 2020, down from a positive growth of 2.9 per cent in 2019.
He said the Nigerian economy was exposed to a twin-shock, a public health crisis and revenue shock driven primarily by 55 per cent drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020.
“We have implemented several initiatives to cushion the effects of the pandemic which include the N50 billion intervention facility for house-hold and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that were adversely affected by the pandemic, N100 billion facility for the health and pharmaceutical sector and a N1 trillion facility for the agricultural and manufacturing firms of the economy,” Emefiele said.
He added that the inability to accurately predict the extent to which the virus could spread and how long it will last requires that the country builds a sufficient capacity within its healthcare system in order to prevent the spread of the virus and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.
He commended the private sector-led coalition group for supporting the government by providing donations of more than N29 billion which are being used to build well-equipped isolation centres across the country.
“So far CACOVID alliance has provided about 32 isolation centers across 32 states, we anticipate that by the end of July, 39 isolation centres would have been established all over the Federation”, Emefiele said.
President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, who was represented by Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, pointed out that the new Lagos isolation centre is the most ultramodern and state-of-the-art facility built so far by the coalition.
“We are very proud because this isolation centre is a model of what we are going to be doing in the remaining states as we are still building more across the Federation,” Dangote said.
Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, reiterated the commitment of the private sector to continue to partner with the government in fighting the COVID-19, describing this time as unprecedented time that all need to stick together to win the challenge.