Sunday 26 April 2020

Mass Burial Looms As Lagos Moves To Decongest Mortuaries

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Mortuaries in the state are getting congested and if after two weeks there is no decongestion, the state government will be compelled to carry out mass burial.

Lagos state
Lagos governor, Sanwo-Olu
The PUNCH reports that the Lagos State government has given go ahead to families who have corpses in mortuaries across the state and have not been able to do proper funeral in the last two months because of the restriction occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus to do so within the next two weeks.

This is because mortuaries in the state are getting congested and if after two weeks there is no decongestion, the state government will be compelled to carry out mass burial.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave the go ahead on Saturday at a press conference at Lagos House Marina.

The governor said the directive became inevitable because mortuaries in Lagos are getting to their peak because of corpses that were awaiting funeral before the outbreak of coronavirus and others that have passed on in the last two months of outbreak and restrictions.

Sanwo-Olu, however, made it clear that the corpses are not as result of death from coronavirus, adding that the state has only recorded 18 cases of death from Covid-19.

“These are not COVID-19 deaths in any form, funerals have not been held in the last two months or so, so congestion is not as a result of death from Covid-19 which is only 18 recorded so far in the state.”

The governor therefore appealed to Lagosians who have corpses in the mortuaries to go ahead and schedule the funerals, adding that funerals are on the list of exemption from the lockdown restrictions.

“You can hold and attend your funeral activities in Lagos as long as you comply with the requirements that we have laid out.”

These requirements, the governor said are: funerals must not exceed 20 persons including the officiating ministers, physical distancing must be maintained at all funeral ceremonies, all attendees or mourners must wear a face mask and must ensure they wash their hands before and after the ceremony and there must not be any form of parties or reception that would accompany the funeral ceremonies.

“As long as you keep these directives and you fully comply with them, funerals would be allowed and encouraged to take place immediately.

“If we are unable to see a decongestion of the mortuaries across the state within the next two weeks, Lagos State government will now be compelled to seek to have mass burial and we don’t want to force this on anybody that is why we are asking for the cooperation of all of us,”
 Sanwo-Olu said.

The governor also disclosed that he has signed the release of 209 inmates remanded in various correctional centers in Lagos.

“In exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 212 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have this afternoon, following the recommendation of the advisory council on prerogative of mercy signed a release order for 209 inmates remanded in our various correctional centers in Lagos.

“This was done in part to decongest the correctional centers in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is also part of a larger effort to bring lasting reform to the administration of criminal justice in our country”, 
he said.

The governor also appealed to all Muslims in the state as they observe the Ramadan to ensure that the observance of the season is carried out in a manner that is in compliance with all the health directives that have been laid out by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Observe all meals and prayers within your homes as against the usual practice of gathering together and as even directed by the Sultan of Sokoto, no public lectures.

“We must shun all gatherings, by complying with these directives we would be protecting ourselves, state and the nation from coronavirus,”
 Sanwo-Olu said

Giving updates on Covid-19, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos now has 670 confirmed cases, while a total of 120 persons have been discharged so far since outbreak started, “we expect more discharges as the days go by,” he said.

The increase in confirmed cases, Sanwo-19 said, demonstrates that “we are firmly in the community transmission stage in Lagos and it means our strategy of ramping testing within the community is working and we are beginning to see the effect.”

He however, warned that this is not the time to relax or slow down on the effort of breaking the chain of transmission of Covid-19.

He also said that henceforth it is compulsory to wear face mask at any public gathering, assuring that the government was currently producing millions which will be given out for free to residents, he appealed to private organisations to also produce same for citizens as the government may not be able to meet up with demands.

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