COVID-19: Lagos, PSC deactivate passports of 200 PCR test defaulters
• UNICEF moves to boost vaccine uptake in Africa
The Lagos State Government, yesterday, said passports of 200 inbound passengers who refused to appear before the mobile court after presenting fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards had been deactivated.
Providing update on COVID-19 management in the state, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, deplored the dubious actions of some inbound passengers, who present forged documents to undermine extant COVID-19 guidelines.
He added that the defaulters would be subject to fine or community service owing to the criminal nature of the acts.
“In the meantime, we have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year.
These will be published in the dailies in the coming week and the next set of names will follow in the coming month. We encourage all those who have received a text message to present themselves at the mobile court to avoid these sanctions,” the commissioner stated.
Abayomi said even as the fourth wave of the pandemic has tapered, Lagos would continually ensure heightened surveillance and access to free PCR testing at all public health facilities.
He called on citizens, particularly inbound passengers, who are required by law to test on arrival, to reciprocate this gesture by booking, paying and presenting themselves at any of the accredited laboratories for their PCR tests on arrival in Lagos.
He added that further reviews would be made in due course, and noted that PCR tests at approved public health laboratories and sample collection centres within the state remain free for citizens who need to test for COVID-19 by way of symptoms or exposure.
IN a related development, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched the first-ever U-Report Challenge, calling on all 13.3 million U-Reporters in Africa to get vaccines to the unvaccinated.
Already, Nigerian and South African celebrities and U-Report supporters, Kate Henshaw and Maps Maponyane, are teaming up with global agency on the initiative.
Through improved access and confidence in the jab, the #GiveitaShot challenge aims to activate young people in motivating those eligible in their communities to get vaccinated.
The project comes one week after COVAX delivered its billionth dose in Rwanda.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, UNICEF Communication Officer, Anike Alli-Hakeem, explained that with an initial focus on six African countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe), the U-Report challenge would be rolled out for eight weeks, adding that COVID-19 information and advocacy messages had been packaged and disseminated via SMS, Facebook Messenger and other communication channels.
According to him, weekly messages would be sent on U-Report to encourage young people to learn about COVID-19 vaccines. They will be engaged in community actions (both online and offline).
On her part, actress Henshaw, who observed that Africa had been battling the virus for two years, added: “At a time of Omicron, it is more important than ever to get vaccines to the unvaccinated.”
“If we want to combat misinformation, it is key to mobilise the continent’s U-Reporters and provide much-needed information on COVID-19 vaccines to save lives,” Maponyane submitted.
It is estimated that about 10 per cent of the adult population on the African continent are vaccinated.