Following latest proactive advice from health authorities over imminent fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Lagos State Goverment has suspended all activities earlier announced for the planned “Greater Lagos Fiesta” 2021 edition.
This came as Europe, the epi-centre of the COVID-19 pandemic, reintroduced restrictions to tackle the fourth wave of the pandemic.
The state government announced the suspension in a release by the State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, on Saturday.
According to Akinbile-Yussuf, the decision to suspend the fiesta became imperative following sound advisory from health authorities in respect of the mammoth crowd expected at some of the gatherings as well as the dangers associated with attendance by members of the Diaspora community, who may be returning from Europe and other parts of the world now experiencing the fourth wave.
She said: “We have seen Germany, Austria, and Greece reintroduce restrictions to curtail the spread of the pandemic. Germany is particularly a country in Europe with many Nigerians, who typically return home for the Christmas holidays.
“This is what science enables us to predict to forestall the tragic experience of last December when scores of our citizens died during the pandemic around yuletide. Our emotions favour going ahead with the plans but we must, as a responsible government, submit our will to the predictive intelligence and overriding power of science”.
“The strategic intent of the State Government in wanting to hold the fiesta was to accelerate the process of reflating the economy of Lagos State by putting money in the hands of our people through the deluge of commercial activities planned to take place during the fiesta.
“But the imperatives of protecting the lives of our people clearly override all economic and commercial considerations.”
AkinbileYussuf,therefore, expressdprofound appreciation to all the corporate sponsors who have so far indicated interest to support this year’s edition of the fiesta, saying, “we will not forget your rare demonstration of goodwill towards the administration of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and, indeed, the people of Lagos State at a challenging time when businesses are battling with limited resources.
“You will remain our partners for this and similar initiatives that are in the works”.
The commissioner, therefore, urged event organisers and owners of event centres in the state with plans to host events in December to seek the guidance of the Lagos State Safety Commission, as well as the Ministry of Health, and enforce strict adherence to all COVID-19 health safety protocols.
Recall that the state government had warned of a possible fourth wave of COVID-19 infection in the country, identifying; the volume of inbound passengers coming into the State for Christmas and New Year festivities, low vaccination and the anticipated social activities in the festive season as potential triggers.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi who disclosed this at a press briefing on the Lagos State COVID19 response and mass vaccination strategy, noted, however, that the state government is currently implementing strategies to prevent and mitigate a possible fourth wave of COVID19 infection.
He explained that the state government is employing four pronged strategies including; vaccination strategy, testing strategy, management of inbound passengers of interest into the country and managing social events during the festive season to prevent and mitigate a potential fourth wave.