Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu has rescinded his earlier decision to reopen churches and mosques until further notice.
The governor, who spoke during his 15th update on the Coronavirus pandemic, yesterday, said the decision was as a result of the rising cases in the state.
As at midnight yesterday, June 15, the state has recorded 7,319 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 1,137 have fully recovered and discharged while 82 died, leaving 6,100 active cases.
According to him, “Our dear State, therefore, continues to be the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, with about 44 per cent of the total number of confirmed cases nationwide. Let me again say that the steady increase in 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.
“The uplifting news is that, based on the statistics emerging from Lagos State, more than 90 percent 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. So, let me say this again: 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.”
He disclosed that based on statistics from the state, more than 90 percent of the people who tested positive would go on to fully recover under supervison and the discharged.
The governor expressed gratitude to all those at the frontlines of the response to the pandemic, in the public and private sectors.
Reacting to the U-turn, Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Dr. Ishaq Akintola, said the reasons behind the decision should be paramount.
“I think we all need to rationalise the reason for the action. As we can see, the cases are rising. Even the Federal Government has threatened to lockdown again if people do not obey instructions. Many Nigerians have become cynical; they think the virus is a joke. If the u-turn is on the side of caution, I have no problem with it. The cases are not going down, so government must take proactive measures to stem the ugly tide. As we pray, we must also work by supporting the government in their efforts at reducing the pandemic. As an organisation, we appeal to Nigerians to cooperate with governments, understand and take responsibility.”