45% of new Covid-19 infections in Lagos now community transmission

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Community transmission is fast emerging the fastest way of transmitting the coronavirus disease, accounting for 45 percent of new infections in Lagos currently, Akin Abayomi, Lagos State commissioner for health, said on Monday. Abayomi said imported cases are decreasing as cases involving those who have returned from abroad are now 54 percent of infections.

He warned, however, that with the closure of international airports, imported cases could come through the land borders and vessels. Giving an update on COVID-19 in Lagos, Abayomi said the state has tested a lot of people from Eti-Osa Local Government Area and that the area was recording high cases of community spread, necessitating more monitoring activities in the surrounding areas.

Earlier, the state listed Etiosa, Ikeja, Alimosho, Kosofe and Oshodi/Isolo LGAs as high target areas where suspected cases could emerge, but Abayomi said the state was becoming more concerned with Alimosho. “We have seen an increase from one to four in Alimosho,” he said.

“We have 87 active cases. 31 have been discharged. And we have two deaths,” he said, adding that most of the cases are between the ages of 20 and 60 years and that most of them are male. He said some contacts were not reachable. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, also announced on Monday that two more patients have been discharged from Infectious Disease Hospital at Yaba. Sanwo-Olu, through his twitter handle on Monday, said the recovered patients are females who have tested negative for the virus twice.

Speaking further during the Covid-19 update, the health commissioner announced that mild cases of the Covid-19 pandemic would be moved to the newly completed isolation centre at Mobolaji Johnson Arena (formerly Onikan Stadium). The 100-bed facility erected by the state government and Guarantee Trust Bank (GtB) would be officially opened today (Tuesday). Abayomi said the decision to move patients with mild symptoms to the Onikan centre was to allow health experts at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, concentrate more on patients with severe cases. He said the Onikan isolation centre was ready, having been fully equipped and a trained medical team now deployed to receive and treat patients with mild cases.

The centre is the first such facility to be erected in Lagos since the state recorded its index case in February. It is to complement the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, an existing facility before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are, however, plans by the state government to build additional isolation centres in the other four divisions of Lagos, which include Ikeja, Badagry, Epe, and Ikorodu, in the event that the virus escalates. Segun Agbaje, managing director of GTBank, handed over the Onikan facility to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday, March 28.

The commissioner also took a swipe at those making prank calls and clogging the system, making it difficult for those with genuine concern to reach the authorities for help. He said 80 percent of the calls they receive are hoaxes, stating that people also call in with aggressive language. “11 percent of the calls we receive are welcome – they are asking for information. Only 9 percent of the calls are actually valid calls. But only 4 percent of the valid calls have resulted in a red flag,” he said.

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