The Lagos State Government (LASG) and its Governor are blazing the trail towards containment of COVID-19 in Lagos, and the Entire Nigerian Federation.
It would be recalled that LASG since the 18th day of March ordered an immediate slow- down of normal commercial activities, prohibition of large gatherings, social distancing measures and partial and full closure of public offices in the ever-bustling megacity which witnesses over 8Million persons commuting daily on Lagos roads.
Using the internet and social media handles as well as survey forms, this State Government has been communicating regularly, collating data, investigating and tracing persons constituting health risks and receiving critical feedback from the public to enable it formulate policies, strategies and taking decisions in the best interests and health of every Lagosian and Nigerian.
In addition to the several initiatives already being taken by LASG to provide facilities, testing kits, isolation facilities, streamlining of public gatherings, gradual and articulate lockdown of the Lagos megapolis whilst making provision for essential services and access to food and water, the Lagos State Governor Sanwo Olu has just signed into law1 Emergency the Lagos Infection Diseases Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) to empower relevant authorities and officials to prevent and contain the outbreak of COVID 19 in every local area of the State.
This update highlights the salient provisions of these Regulations.
The Regulations have been issued by the Governor pursuant to the 2015 Lagos State Public Health law and the older Federal Quarantine Act.
They donate the Governor or any of his agents, representatives or officials whom he has authorized through a written instrument, with the powers to:
- Direct any Potentially Infected Person "PIP" (and if a child, to direct the parent or guardian of that Child to ensure that that child) goes voluntarily or be removed to a specified screening facility, isolation facility temporarily;
- Make provision for the proper care and facility of a PIP including one forcefully removed to that isolation facility provided that such cost of removal shall be borne by the PIP affected;
- Restrict movement of persons, vehicles, aircraft, watercraft within into and outside of any Local Area save for the purpose of essential supplies or movement of essential supplies personnel;
- Temporarily close public centres, events places, educational or vocational institutions, etc and restrict or prohibit events, gatherings and premises except with the written permission of the Governor;
- Temporarily restrict trade, business and commercial trading in part or whole in any Local Area;
- Sanction hoarding and price manipulation of essential foods, drugs and supply, and or seize such goods to make same available as needed in the target Local Area;
- Direct as to transportation, storage and disposal of remains of COVID19 infected person, including cremation
- Prohibit and sanction the spread and transmission of false information
- Require notification by health workers and medical practitioners in any given area to notify the Governor of any (suspected) case of COVID19
(Please see generally Sections 4 to 14 of the Regulations)
The powers contained in the Regulations are not exhaustive as can be attested by an omnibus power Section15 of the Regulations and can be amended and broadened in scope at anytime to complement actions being taken by the LASG. The Governor is entitled under these Regulations to announce new decisions or directions through written or oral declarations (Section 16).
Persons who breach or obstruct the implementation of these provisions or spread false information are to be imprisoned or fined in line with Quarantine and Public Health Laws under Section 17 of the Regulations.
The Regulations provide a comprehensive and formidable framework and an effective emergency tool for the Lagos State Government, working in tandem with the NCDC, to proactively prevent, contain and manage the spread of the pandemic in the next couple of months DV.
Other updates regarding measures to contain COVID19 shall be provided in due course.
1 On the 27th March, 2020 effective immediately.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.