The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says the burial protocol of any Covid-19 related death is to ensure social distancing of people at the funeral.
Abayomi, said this while responsing to controversies trailing the burial of Malam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President who died of Covid-19 complications in Lagos on Friday and was buried in Abuja on Tuesday during the coronavirus update on Sunday.
The Commissioner said that attendance must not exceed 25 people at burial of persons who died from COVID-19 complications, including family members, clergy, grave diggers and pallbearers.
He, however, said there is no policy banning the release of corpse of COVID-19 patient to the family.
According to him, the protocol was to decontaminate the body before handing it over to the family.
The commissioner added that the body would be placed in two body bags after decontamination, and then placed it into the coffin before handing over to the family for burial.
On the state’s COVID-19 cases, Abayomi said that 23 new cases were confirmed on April 18, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Lagos to 309.
He said that 94 of the cases had recovered and discharged, two evacuated, while three had been transferred to their state of residence in Ogun.
According to him, the state recorded the death of an 83-year-old woman with underlying health issues, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Lagos to 14.
Abayomi, however, disclosed that only two of the 14 COVID-19 deaths recorded in the state died at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.
The commissioner said that others died either on their way to the hospital or at the private medical facilities.
He clarified that the Onikan and Landmark Isolation Centres were private facilities being used for treating COVID-19 patients, and managed by the state government.
Abayomi said the Isolation Centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba, is a Federal medical facility, but under the supervision of the state government for the treatment of COVID-19 cases.
The commissioner said that the First Cardiology Consultants was also another private facility dedicated for the treatment of complicated cases of COVID-19 patients, and under the supervision of the State COVID-19 Emergency Response Team.
Abayomi said that the state has decentralised sampling stations for COVID-19 across all the local government areas, where samples would be collected from persons that meet the designated COVID-19 testing criteria.
He said that the strategy was to bring sampling closer to the people for easy access to all residents toward identifying cases at the community level.
The commissioner commended Lagos residents for adhering to the stay-at-home directive in a civilised order.
He assured them that the government was making concerted efforts to restore normalcy to the state soon.
Abayomi also commended the private sector for their contributions and supports to the fight against COVID-19