By Abiodun Adebayo
The Lagos State Government has stopped the reopening of worship centers initially scheduled for Friday, June 19 (mosques) and Sunday, June 21 (churches).
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the decision at a press briefing on Tuesday.
According to him, the development became necessary as a result of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.
On Monday, Nigeria recorded 573 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 16,658.
Of the new infections, Lagos reported the highest figures with 216 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state 7,319.
Consequently, the state has remained the epicentre of infections in the country, closely followed by the FCT with 1,264 and Kano state with 1,158.
He said:”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. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and continue to base our decision-making on data modelling; as well as on the responsibility we have to act in a manner that ensures the protection of all of you the people of Lagos State.
“Therefore, until further notice, all places of worship in Lagos State will remain closed. Social and events centers, and social clubs, will also remain closed, for now.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also charged the citizen to take personal responsibility for their safety against the virus by always comply with the guidelines such as using if face masks, washing of hands, etc.
He said: “Let me make this clear, that we are now fully in the phase of personal responsibility, regarding this pandemic. This means that, while the Government maintains its responsibility to take protective decisions for the common good, what will ultimately save us all and defeat this virus are the sensible personal decisions that we take on a daily basis.
“Decisions to use masks anytime you are out of your house, to avoid non-essential travel, to stay at home when we don’t have any business being outside, to wash or sanitize our hands regularly – these are the simple but necessary steps that will save and protect us all.
“As a Government we will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the people, but that can only be effective when the people themselves act responsibly, and do not behave in a manner that undermines public health guidelines and puts the society at risk.
“We will, as always, continue to keep you informed and updated on the decisions that are taken for the public health and safety of all of us. One of the most important tasks that we face as a government is to carefully and responsibly balance the competing considerations of life and livelihood, and one of the most important tasks before you as citizens is to abide by the decisions that have been taken for the good of all of us – even when it is not easy to do so.”