Worship centres in Lagos State have been given the go-ahead to reopen for worship services effective August 7 by the Babajide Snawo-Olu-led state government.

The governor said this on Saturday during his update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Incident Commander also increased public gatherings capacity from 20 to 50 people. Night clubs however remain shut.

Worship centers and other social gatherings were banned in the state since March as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Below is his full statement:

Seventeenth Update on Coronavirus by the Incident Commander, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Dear Lagosians,

1. I would like to start by publicly expressing my condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones in recent times to reckless and
avoidable road accidents involving trailers and containers; as well as accidents on our waterways. The wheel of the law will take its course and all those responsible for these
senseless deaths will be brought to justice.

2. It has now been five months since the first case of Coronavirus was recorded in Nigeria. Since then Nigeria has seen more than 43,000 infections, and a significant disruption of social,
religious, educational and economic life, like every other part of the world.

3. As at yesterday, Friday July 31, 2020, Lagos State has had a total of 15,150 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 10,835 persons, who have recovered and been discharged. We have sadly now lost 194 persons to the virus. This leaves
us with 1813 active cases in community and 96 under management across various isolation centers in the state.

4. Lagos State remains the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria, but we also, I am pleased to say, have set a national example in terms of the efficiency of our testing, tracing, treatment, and our partnerships with the private sector and
the Federal Government. Most of our patients in Lagos recover under our supervision.

5. We now have two pathways through which confirmed cases are managed: either through our Home-Based Strategy, or in designated COVID Care Centres. Those people in the Home Care category are being supported medically with our COVID Care Packs, and psychologically through our counselling teams available via our Call Centre 08000CORONA

6. In addition, these individuals are given access to our telemedicine services through the state-owned EKOTELEMED, and are also visited weekly by our doctors to ensure that they are recovering adequately and in a timely fashion.

7. In terms of our Isolation Centers, we have since, last night, shut down our Eti-Osa Isolation Center and will be shutting down our Agidingbi Isolation Center and moving all the patients there to our soon to be commissioned IndoCenter.

8. Furthermore, our Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba is now also gradually being reverted back to its status as a hospital to cater to all forms of
infectious diseases. The Ca-COVID dedicated tent on the IDH grounds will however remain strictly for COVID-19 cases.

9. In June, we further expanded COVID-19 testing capacity in Lagos with the accreditation of seven private laboratories. In the week ending July 26, 2020, we successfully tested close to 9,000
samples in Lagos State, across the public and private sector laboratories, a 50 per cent increase from the approximately 6,000 samples tested in each of the preceding two weeks.

10. We believe that this increase in testing will lead to an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of the virus in Lagos State.This is a welcome development, since our capacity to contain the pandemic depends
significantly on how successful we are in
identifying all the existing cases.

11. I must however also mention that we have seen a general decrease in positivity rates in Lagos State over the past two weeks, which, combined with the increase in testing numbers,
paints a very encouraging picture of the outcome of our response strategy. We will continue to fine-tune our efforts and strategies to build on our successes and close any existing gaps.

12. We are patterning our response strategy after Mumbai, India, which like Lagos is a densely populated mega-city with similar demographic and climatic conditions. I must however say that we are also recording similar results in terms of our successes.

13. Dear Lagosians, having carefully reviewed the current scenario in Lagos State, we have taken some important decisions in line with the ongoing objective of calibrating an effective balance between the competing demands of safeguarding lives and enabling livelihoods.

14. First, we are increasing the permissible capacity for public gatherings from 20 to 50 persons. This applies to a wide range of events, from AGMs to funerals. Lagosians should please continue to keep in mind that there is documented evidence that mass gatherings can increase the spread of infectious diseases, such as coronavirus. As such, all standard prevention
and control measures must be strictly adhered to: physical distancing, mandatory temperature checks and use of masks in public places, regular disinfection of premises, and strong personal hygiene.

15. Places of worship in Lagos State will be allowed to open from Friday, the 7th of August for our Muslim worshippers, and Sunday the 9th of August for Christian worshippers, but only at 50 per cent of their capacity. Churches whose main worship days fall on Saturdays, are permitted to hold their services on Saturdays, subject to the same guidelines as churches holding services on Sundays.

16. We must reiterate that places of worship are only permitted to have their regular once-a-week services on the designated days. For the avoidance of doubt, churches are mosques are
not permitted to have other services or fellowships outside of their main weekly

17. Places of worship are allowed to schedule multiple services, on their designated worship days, if necessary, as well as also encouraging
as many people as possible to participate using virtual means.

18. In addition, the following conditions must be met and fulfilled by all religious centres and places of worship that are planning to reopen:
a) Only regular services/gatherings are permitted to hold. Night vigils and other
non-regular programmes remain prohibited until further notice.
b) Attendees over the age of 65 years are strongly discouraged from attending worship services
c) Consider holding services and gatherings in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors, as circumstances and faith traditions allow.
d)“No Facemask, No Entry” policy must be maintained throughout the duration of the services.
e) Regular cleaning and disinfection of
facilities must be carried out to maintain clean and hygienic environments before
and after every service.
f) Appropriate screening equipment for COVID-19 symptoms such as a contactless
temperature check must be available for
entrants into the facility.
g) It is mandatory to provide hand-washing facilities and sanitizers at the entry and exit point of the premises.
h)National emergency response phone lines must be displayed prominently on the premises.
i) Handshakes, hugs and “high fives” are not permitted at services or gatherings, and this should be emphasized by displaying appropriate signs prominently.
j) The use of stationary collection boxes and electronic methods for collection of offering must be encouraged.
k) The flow of human traffic in and out of
these places of worship must be conducted in an organized and orderly manner.
19. Restaurants will now be permitted to open for in-dining services, from the 14th of August, on the proviso that they maintain a 50 per cent occupancy capacity, and have also obtained a Provisional
Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety Commission: www.lasgsafetyreg.com.

20. Social clubs and recreational centers
will also now be allowed to open from the 14th of August 2020, on the condition that they have applied for and obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety Commission:
www.lasgsafetyreg.com. Note that these
Safety Clearance Certificates are at this time being issued only to Social Clubs with Registered Trustees.

21. Clubs and centers that reopen without complying with these mandatory requirements will be shut down and dealt with according to the
law. Note also that the closure of all spas, bars, lounges, night clubs, cinemas, games arcades remains in place. The possible reopening of these places will be further reviewed before the end of the month.

22. As a state government, we will be ramping up our monitoring and enforcement work, to ensure that all our guidelines and directives are
complied with to the letter. The relevant
agencies will be carrying out spot checks and random inspections of businesses and facilities, and defaulters will be sanctioned appropriately.

23. Regarding our schools, secondary schools in Lagos will reopen, as earlier communicated by the Ministry of Education, from August 3rd,
for exit classes only – i.e. SS3 and Technical Studies TEC3 students only. This will allow them two weeks to participate in revision classes and examinations in preparation for the forthcoming West African Examinations (WAEC), which will start on August 17, 2020.

24. All standard precautions must be put in place by school authorities: handwashing facilities, physical distancing, the use of face masks, and so on. Officials of the Lagos State government will be inspecting all qualifying schools to ensure that these requirements are fully met. The Lagos State government will make face masks available to all schools to which this reopening exemption applies, for the duration of the reopening.

25. As I mentioned before, all civil servants in the state’s unified public service system are to maintain status quo in line with the prevailing guidelines issued by the Head of Service and comply with the roster selections per MDA.
Those officers working from home at this time, are to continue to avail themselves with the use of the online Learning Management, LMS platforms.

26. As I mentioned in the last address, people need to start taking responsibility for themselves and their loved ones. Self-regulation is the order of the day, and you should not wait for the government to regulate you or your conduct, even though we will be doing so, you must ensure as matter of responsibility, that you are self-regulating yourself in the interests of yourself and loved ones.

27. I would also like to use this opportunity to again appeal to our people to avoid non-essential movement and try to remain indoors, more so now with the partial closure of the third mainland bridge and the attendant issues that come with such a major infrastructural rehabilitation.

28. We will continue to keep you informed and updated on the decisions that are taken for the public health and safety of all of us. As stated before, managing this pandemic requires careful balancing of health and economic
considerations, and we will pursue this
balancing with a great sense of responsibility.

29. I would like to end by thanking all our frontline health workers, and non-medical personnel – drivers, cleaners, attendants – for your continuing sacrifice and courage in the face of one of the worst pandemics the world has ever
seen. I also thank the private sector for all their support and cooperation, helping us raise our capacity to test and treat patients.

30. Our gratitude also goes to our Monitoring and Compliance Teams at the state and local government levels for their efforts so far, and charge them to not relent in the quest to ensure full compliance. I equally thank all of our security agencies – the Police; the Military; the Department of State Security and the Civil Defence Corps and others – for working hard to help maintain law and order and enforce our various directives.

31. As I close, let me use this opportunity to celebrate all of the people of Lagos who are taking advantage of the opportunities thrown up by the pandemic to invest and innovate for the good of the entire society.

32. A few days ago, I was privileged to
commission the first certified facility in Nigeria for the manufacture of medical-grade face masks. An enterprising Nigerian company, based here in Lagos, saw an opportunity in this space, and decided to invest. They have now
completed a state-of-the-art factory that can produce 240,000 medical masks daily.

33. This is yet another example of the
industrious and entrepreneurial energy of Lagos. There are many stories like this around us; I salute all of you, and assure that we will continue to recognize and support you.

34. I thank you all for listening.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Governor of Lagos State
1st August, 2020.


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