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Lagos to treat malaria-like symptoms as COVID-19

Following the surge in the confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the ease of infection in the second wave of the virus, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State yesterday declared that any malaria-like symptoms would now be considered as coronavirus infection until otherwise proven. Common symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness.

Sanwo-Olu advised any resident with malaria-like symptoms to immediately proceed to the state’s health facilities or hospitals to undergo COVID-19 test for free before it would be too late. “Seeking help early and quickly significantly improves the chances of survival for severe to critical cases,” Sanwo-Olu noted.

The governor added that it was time everyone act responsibly to prevent being infected as nobody is immune to the deadly virus. According to him, the increase in positivie cases has necessitated the provision of greater amount of concentrated oxygen for the moderate to severe cases on admission in the isolation centres. Sanwo-Olu said that the demand for oxygen at the COVID-19 isolation centres in the state is expected to rise to 750 cylinders before the end of this month.

He disclosed that patients at Yaba Mainland Hospital currently need 300 oxygen cylinders daily. He warned that the second wave of the virus requires adequate safety consciousness and must not be treated with levity.

The governor, who spoke while giving update on the second wave of COVID-19, called on the residents to take their safety very seriously by complying with the established protocols to prevent being infected with the deadly virus as the cases of patients in dire need of oxygen to survive are rising daily. He also hinted that about 24,000 pupils have failed to return to Lagos schools after the first lockdown.

He, however, said that schools in the state would remain opened, but with strict adherence to the safety guidelines, having critically examined the consequences of shutting down the schools on the pupils.

He said: “Over the last few weeks, the demand for oxygen has risen from 70 six-litre cylinder per day to 350 six-litre cylinders in our Yaba Mainland Hospital. This is projected to double to 750 six-litre cylinders before the end of January 2021. In addition to proviing oxygen at our isolation centres, Lagos State government has decentralized the availability of oxygen across the state through the provision of 10 oxygen and sampling kiosks. Oxygen therapy and other related services will be provided to patients that require them.”

The governor expressed optimism that the sampling kiosks would be easily accessible to residents that require oxygen therapy at the level of local government areas as stabilization points prior to onward transmission to isolation centres, if required. He said the strategy is to further increase the lighting chance of Lagos residents that have contracted the virus and require immediate oxygen therapy.

Harping on the homebased strategy of managing the virus, the governor said that EKOTELEMED service has been deployed to assist patients who tested positive to the virus in the comfort of their homes as the team of health experts and service providers would help to nurse the patient back to good health.

Sanwo-Olu added: “The Lagos State government will deploy effective messaging and education while rigorously enforcing all guidelines through the respective state agencies. We will continue to clamp down on all persons and organisations who flout the protocols and guidelines we have established. “So far, a total of 556 people have been arrested for breaching the COVID-19 regulations, 502 prosecuted and convicted to date, while 35 clubs and event centres have been sealed.

“The Safety Commission and Lagos State Task Force will continue to carry out enforcement across the state and will not hesitate to bring defaulters to book. “All places of worship are advised to register on the Lagos State Safety Registration Portal, and to visit the portal regularly for updates on our safety protocols and conditions for operating. Similarly, all hospitality businesses, restaurants, hotels, event centres and related entities should register on the site and follow all guidelines. In the meantime, and until further notice, all night clubs in Lagos State must remain closed.”

On the school resumption, Sanwo-Olu insisted that despite the fear over the resumption, the state considered it wise to allow pupils return to schools, adding that over 24,000 failed to return to schools after the first lockdown. He said that government, through the state Ministry of Education, Office of Quality Assurance, would do everything possible to ensure that safety guidelines are complied with to ensure the students are safe from infections while in schools.

Sanwo-Olu also revealed that Lagos State government has opened discus-sions with some vaccine manufacturers to ensure that residents are catered for. He said: “We are closely monitoring on-going action by the Federal Government to procure COVID-19 vaccines for use in Nigeria. We have also opened discussions with vaccine manufacturers so that when the vaccine comes eventually we can ensure that Lagosians are catered for.

“In the meantime, we are developing a strategy that will articulate the criteria, guidelines and regulatory framework for providing and monitoring vaccinations in Lagos. “The Lagos State government is actively partnering with the private sector in the management of COVID- 19, in the areas of testing, oxygen deployment, as well as the clinical management of moderate to severe cases. These partnerships have helped enhance the state’s response to the everchanging circumstances of the pandemic.”

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