BY EMEKA EJERE
Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says that the suspension of the planned reopening of churches and mosques across the state is as a result of the rising cases of the coronavirus pandemic in the state which has been the epicentre of the virus in the country.
Sanwo-Olu had on Tuesday, June 16, during a press briefing at Alausa Ikeja, suspended indefinitely the planned reopening of mosques and churches on Friday, June 19 and Sunday, June 21 respectively.
The governor stated that the measure has become necessary so as to prevent the current situation regarding the high level of infection in the state from getting out of hand.
He said, “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.’’
“Our dear state, therefore, continues to be the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, with about 44% of the total number of confirmed cases nationwide. Let me again say that the steady increase in a 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.’’
Sanwo-Olu said continued, “The uplifting news is that, based on the statistics emerging from Lagos State, more than 90% of the people who test positive will go on to fully recover under supervision, and be discharged.’’
“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.’’
“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. “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.’’
“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 you the people of Lagos State. Therefore, until further notice, all places of worship in Lagos State will remain closed. Social and events centres, and social clubs, will also remain closed, for now.’’
The governor then pointed out that the state is now fully in the phase of personal responsibility, regarding the pandemic “where the sensible decisions we take daily can help save us all and defeat the virus.”
He said as a government his administration would continue to do everything within its power to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the people, but that could 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.