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Lagos to bar foreign tourists from festival over coronavirus

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Express delight at WHO’s commendation of Nigeria
The Lagos State Government has disclosed that it will bar foreign tourists from participating in this year’s Greater Lagos Boat Regatta and Festival.

Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Uzamat Akinbule-Yussf stated this yesterday at a media briefing to announce the 2020 Regatta tentatively slated for between April 10, 2020 and April 12, 2020.

She said foreign tourists are being stopped from attending because of the pandemic coronavirus, adding “The ministry is aware of the COVID-19 and we are working with the Ministry of Health to create washing of hands points, provide hand sanitisers and ensure safety of Lagos people during and after the programme.”

She said the state government would be collaborating with Gradient Hill Limited, a private organisation in hosting the event, which would increase investors and tourists’ participation in the festival, as several private firms have already indicated interest to participate in the event.

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The commissioner expressed hope that with the partnership, the project would showcase the physical and natural attributes of Lagos State, the endearing and welcoming spirit of its people, the reputation of Lagos as an entertainment destination and ensure not only the success of the festival, but also keep the event going into the future.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has acknowledged the commendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on steps taken by the Federal Government to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said the recognition of Nigeria’s efforts by the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebereyesus, was a testimony that the state government’s decision to spearhead construction of the Biobanking and Biosecurity Laboratory at the Mainland Specialist Hospital, Yaba was timely and ingenious.

Ghebereyesus hailed Nigeria’s handling of the epidemic, saying, “This a true act of solidarity and an important step in stopping the Coronavirus from spreading further”.

“When news of the coronavirus broke, the state Government on February 3, 2020 set up an Incident Command Centre headed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Incident Commander and Health Commissioner, Akin Abayomi as Deputy Incident Commander. They rallied experts to tackle the pandemic.”

He added that no fewer than 60 health officials were deployed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) to ensure that visitors did not bring in the virus.

Omotoso recalled that the state also embarked on the training of medical personnel to be experts in laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases before the facility was completed.

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