LAGOS State governor Babajide Sanwoolu has thrown down the gauntlet to tailors and seamstresses across the state challenging them to mass-produce locally-made facemasks from a standard design in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Accounting for about 50% of all cases in Nigeria, Lagos State has been the epicentre of the virus in the country, forcing the governor to be proactive and very responsive. Apart from opening isolation centres, over the last week, the Lagos State government announced plans to open 20 testing centres and is handing out palliatives to ameliorate the effects of the state-wide lockdown.
Last week, the governors of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states agreed to close all entry points into the region as part of the continued effort to halt the spread of the virus. In addition, the governors further agreed that the wearing of nose masks will be made compulsory for everybody coming out of their homes effective from Friday 24th April, in their respective states.
Seeking to enforce this, Governor Sanwoolu has ordered mass production of locally made masks across the state. Professor Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State health commissioner, said the governor had already given instructions that tailors and seamstresses should be commissioned to produce from a standard design that have been given to them.
Professor Abayomi added: “Tailors and seamstresses are empowered to produce and provide standard home-made face masks that the public can gain access to and wear without pulling on the limited stocks of professional facemasks that health professional require. Such that in a couple of weeks, we will be able to mass-produce locally made facemasks not medical masks.”
He noted that the state is not encouraging the public to go and purchase medical masks because it would deprive the medical community of that they require for their professional activity. Professor Abayomi added that the use of facemasks did not protect against infection but rather protects people around an infected person from the an increase amount of aerosol generated from coughing or sneezing.
Also, he said in order to increase Covid-19 testing capacity in Lagos, the state government has set up sampling stations in the 20 local government areas of the state where citizens can visit to drop samples for testing. Professor Abayomi added that the idea is also aimed at taking work strain off health workers that visit several local government for case search and sample collection.