The Lags State Government has cancelled the planned reopening of churches and mosques in the state. This was announced by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, at a televised press briefing. While the mosques were billed to be reopened on Friday June 19, the churches were billed to open Sunday, June 21.
Sanwo-Olu said the volte-face was as a result of the rising cases of the coronavirus pandemic in the state. Lagos remains the epicentre of the virus in the country, with a caseload that is now over 7,300.
* Fifteenth Update on Coronavirus by the Incident Commander, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu*
1. As at midnight yesterday, June 15, 2020, Lagos State had recorded a total of 7,319 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Of this number, 1,137 have fully recovered and been discharged, while 82 have sadly died, leaving 6,100 active cases under management in the State.
2. Our dear State therefore continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, with about 44% of the total number of confirmed cases nationwide.
3. Let me again say that the steady increase in number of confirmed cases is by no means unexpected. Considering that the infection is now very much in our midst, the more we test, the more the number of positive cases that will emerge.
4. The uplifting news is that, based on the statistics emerging from Lagos State, more than 90 percent of the people who test positive will go on to fully recover under supervision, and be discharged.
5. Dear Lagosians, in the most recent guidelines which we issued on the gradual easing of the lockdown, based on the advice of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, I noted that we would shortly be permitting the restricted opening of religious houses, on the condition of strict compliance with detailed guidelines issued by the Lagos State Safety Commission.
6. We have been closely monitoring the situation since then, and have now concluded that we cannot proceed with any form of re-opening for places of worship in Lagos State, until further notice.
7. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, it is simply in line with our ongoing evaluation of evolving scenarios regarding the course of the infection in Lagos State and the corresponding public health advisory guidelines issued by the experts.
8. So, let me say this again: we are now hereby suspending, with immediate effect, the plan to re-open religious houses and places of worship in Lagos State, until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and continue to base our decision-making on data modelling; as well as on the responsibility we have to act in a manner that ensures the protection of all of you the people of Lagos State.
9. Therefore, until further notice, all places of worship in Lagos State will remain closed. Social and events centers, and social clubs, will also remain closed, for now.
10. Let me make this clear, that we are now fully in the phase of personal responsibility, regarding this pandemic. This means that, while the Government maintains its responsibility to take protective decisions for the common good, what will ultimately save us all and defeat this virus are the sensible personal decisions that we take on a daily basis.
11. Decisions to use masks anytime you are out of your house, to avoid non-essential travel, to stay at home when we don’t have any business being outside, to wash or sanitize our hands regularly – these are the simple but necessary steps that will save and protect us all.
12. As a Government we will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the people, but that can only be effective when the people themselves act responsibly, and do not behave in a manner that undermines public health guidelines and puts the society at risk.
13. We will, as always, continue to keep you informed and updated on the decisions that are taken for the public health and safety of all of us. One of the most important tasks that we face as a government is to carefully and responsibly balance the competing considerations of life and livelihood, and one of the most important tasks before you as citizens is to abide by the decisions that have been taken for the good of all of us – even when it is not easy to do so.
14. Let me, as I end this address, express gratitude to all those at the frontlines of the response to this pandemic, in the public and private sectors. Our medical workers, Rapid Response Teams, support personnel like call center workers, drivers, cleaners, and others, monitoring teams at the State and Local Government level, and all our security agencies. Thank you for the very important work that you all do.
15. Thank you also to everyone who has taken it upon themselves to be a whistle-blower, and report violations of our directives. We encourage people to speak up and report on our hotlines: 0901-051- 3197; 0901-051-3198; 0901-051-3199. As always, strict confidentiality of all reports is guaranteed.
16. I thank you all for listening.
Governor of Lagos State
16th June, 2020.
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