The Lagos State Government has launched an Incident Command System as part of efforts to prevent an outbreak of the fast-spreading Coronavirus in the state.
In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Gboyega Akosile, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi explained that the virus is a new pathogen to the human race and as such, research is still ongoing on how to arrest it.
Abayomi, however, warned residents against rumour-mongering noting that no case of the virus has been found in Lagos.
While launching the Incident Command System, the governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the measure is not to stigmatise citizens of any country but a precautionary one taken in the interest of the people.
The command system will have the governor as the Incident Commander, while the Commissioner for Health will serve as the Deputy Incident Commander.
Also, according to the Governor, other relevant health professionals in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health, would be deployed to the Lagos International Airport for a higher level of monitoring.
Beyond that, he also assured the public that Government and Non-Governmental Organisations will continue to escalate communication and create public awareness.
“What we have started to do is to have what we call a heightened state concern on the Coronavirus. We are not declaring an emergency in any form but creating a heightened state concern,” he said.
“Also, the Honourable Commissioner through his Ministry will identify relevant health professionals that would, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health, be deployed to our International Airports in Lagos where we would see a higher level of monitoring as well as an organised level of incidence reporting layout.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said although the team expects people to be self-quarantined, the state will carry out a supervised quarantine where details about immigrants will be taken at the point of entry while the team will do daily follow-ups through phone calls to identify individuals for a period of two weeks.
According to the Governor, the command will be in operation for the period of time that the risk lasts. He assured that adequate preparation has been carried out to tackle the virus.
“This command will go on until when we believe and we have been given assurance that we have a stable and controlled environment but in the meantime, these exercises are going to be put in place and we are going to start things immediately,” he said.
“I also want to mention that we have started providing both human and material logistics required for this exercise.
“All of our major General Hospitals are also being prepared in event of an outpour into any of them. The hospitals in the mainland have tents coming up and extensive resources are being put in that particular health facility for them to be on standby in case of any suspected or identified case.”
Abayomi further added that the WHO has declared the novel coronavirus a global health concern, saying this will make the state government step up its scrutiny of travellers coming in from the most affected regions.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; the Consul General of People’s Republic of China, Chu Moaming and the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji were among the dignitaries present at the event.