In a bid to prevent an outbreak of the fast spreading Novel Coronavirus, the Lagos State Government on Monday launched an Incident Command System.
The health emergency structure is being set up to help with containment in the unlikely event of outbreaks of the virus in the State.
Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that the Novel Coronavirus is a new pathogen to the human race and as such, research is still ongoing on how to arrest it.
According to him, no suspected or confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus has been found in Lagos, warning residents against rumour mongering on public health and safety.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while launching the Incident Command System 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 Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Incident Commander while the Commissioner for Health will serve as the Deputy Incident Commander.
The Governor noted that 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.
The Governor assured that the Government and Non Governmental Organisations will continue to escalate communication and create public awareness.
He said: “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.
“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 higher level of monitoring as well as organised level of incidence reporting layout.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said that although the team expects people to be self quarantined, he however stressed that 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 identified individuals for a period of two weeks.
According to the Governor, the command will be in operation for the period of time the risk lasts. He assured that adequate preparation has been carried out to tackle the virus.
The Governor said: “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, this exercises are going to be put in place and we are going to start things immediately.
“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 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 scrutinising travellers coming in from mostly affected region.
“We need to really ramp up the human capacity at the airport to be able to scrutinise all travellers coming in from particularly the routes that are coming in from the South East Asian 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.