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Stakeholders must join govt to halt spread of Coronavirus – Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has called on community, religious and traditional leaders as well as unions, association and educationists to cooperate with the state government in spreading basic information to curb the spread of coronavirus among their followers and members.

The governor, who stated this on Tuesday at a Stakeholders Forum on the Management and Control of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) organized by the State’s Ministry of Information and Strategy at the LTV Blue Roof, Ikeja to sensitize the citizens, noted that it would save the state the trauma of managing further spread of the Coronavirus.

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Sanwo-Olu, who spoke through his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat further urged citizens to stop gossip and rumour-mongering on the corona virus, saying that the outbreak called for caution and obedience to medical advice.

“Apart from the threat of Coronavirus, an issue of great concern is “fake news” on the social media about the patient currently receiving treatment at the government facility,” he said, adding that any information that did not emanate from the Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health or the National Centre for Disease Control should be authenticated before it is spread across the social media.

Speaking further, the Governor noted that as a responsible government, it had no alternatives than to activate all medical procedures that would ensure that Coronavirus did not put the life of a majority of residents at risk.

He therefore assured that despite the fact that government did not pray for an increase in the number of coronavirus cases, the state government was prepared to handle any further incidents that might be discovered in the coming days.

He said owing to the state government experience with Ebola in 2014, the government, in partnership with the Canadian government, set up Bio-safety Level-3 Laboratory at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba to enhance the capacity to manage any disease outbreak such as the Coronavirus which now exists in over 67 countries across the world.

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Sanwo-Olu urged that all hands must be on deck to prevent the infection from growing among populace, adding that Lagosians must adhere to the simple procedure that could break the chain of transmission of the disease in the state.

Commenting on the symptoms, the governor urged anyone who have fever, cough or difficulty in breathing, to seek medical attention immediately at the Primary Healthcare Centres and General Hospitals which are prepared to attend to all patients who present themselves for attention.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso disclosed that the forum was convened to enlighten Lagosians on the Coronavirus and provide information from the state government about the journey so far and stop fake news that has been trending since the break of the disease in the state in the last one week.

He added that Lagosians need to form a strong bond to ensure that there is compliance with medical advice to prevent an upscale of the coronavirus situation in the state.

The commissioner urged participants to assist the state government in ensuring that the message/information shared at the forum are taken back home to the people.

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In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi stated that there is only one case of Coronavirus in the state, the Italian who came into the country on the 24th of February, adding that the state government is working with the World Health Organization to identify everyone who were on the plane with the index.

He noted that so far 100 persons who were in same plane with the index has been identified and are being monitored on a daily basis.

Speaking further, he emphasized that since 2014 when the state experienced the Ebola virus, the state government has been building capacity to handle any outbreak.

He called on citizens to cooperate with the state government in its efforts to curtail the spread of the virus by living healthy, maintain good hygiene, wash their hands frequently and if sick should remain indoor and seek medical help immediately.

The Representative of World Health Organization in Nigeria, Dr. Okudor Ifeanyi commended the Lagos State Government for their preparedness and swiftness in handling the case so far. He said the organization will continue to support the country and State in ensuring that the disease surely come to an end in the country.

He charged Nigerians not to panic but ensure that they listen to authentic channels for information on the right things to know and do to curtail the spread of the virus.

He said: “If we do the right thing, we can collectively curtail the spread of the virus. We need to maintain good hygiene most importantly, we should always wash our hands. We don’t need to panic.”

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