A Brief Review of The Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020
The Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 (the “Regulation”) was signed and became effective from March 27, 2020 by the Executive Governor of Lagos State. The Regulation was made pursuant to the Sections 2, 3, 4 & 8 of the Quarantine Act Cap Q2 Laws of the Federation, 2004 (“Quarantine Act”) and the Public Health Law of Cap Ch. P.16 Laws of Lagos State (“Public Health Law”). The Regulations was enacted to prevent and contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) within Lagos State. The Regulations declared COVID-19 as a Dangerous Infectious Disease within the meaning of the Quarantine Act.
The Regulation ratifies all acts done to curtail COVID-19 prior to the Regulations and grants power to request screening, assessment, self-isolation or removal into an isolation center of Potentially Infectious Person for an initial period of fourteen (14) days. The Governor may restrict movements within, into and out of the local area save for transportation and movement of essential supplies of food, water, pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and medicines including movement of essential services personnel.
The Regulations provide for the restriction of gathering of persons for the purposes of conferences, meetings, festivals, private events, religious services, public visits except with the prior written approval of the Governor. The Regulations may order the temporary closure of event centers, markets (other than for food, water or stores) bars, places of worship, educational institutions etc. the Governor may impose restrictions on the number of persons that may be present in a place and direct security agencies to break up any gathering and take into custody for the purpose of screening and assessment and if necessary, for isolation.
The Governor is empowered to restrict trade, business and commercial activities in whole or in part and also to order the closure of public, educational and vocational institutions.
The Regulation provide for directions with respect to hoarding of food, drugs and other essential items or refusal to provide essential goods and services. It shall be an offence to artificially inflate the prices of foods, drugs and essential goods and services. In the event of a breach, the Governor may direct the seizure and forfeiture of foods, drugs and other essential items and may direct that they be utilized for the purpose of alleviating the supply needs. The Regulation is empowered to specify how the remains of infected persons shall be transported, stored and disposed of including cremation of the remains. This provision is
notwithstanding the provision of the Lagos State Cremation Law of 2013.
The Regulations provide that persons may be prosecuted for spreading fake news about COVID-19. The Regulation prohibits the transmission or dissemination of false information regarding COVID-19, promotion of unverified, untested or unapproved cures, vaccines or other medical items.
The Regulations generally provide for certain omnibus powers exercisable by the Governor with respect to preventing the spread of COVID-19. These powers include: the power to order any person to stay at home, deploy law enforcement officers to enforce directives relating to restriction of movement, power to allocate spaces as isolation centers and temporarily take possession of property for use as isolation centers, storage of pharmaceutical and medical equipment subject to adequate compensation.
The powers to be executed by the Governor may be exercisable by any person designated by the Governor through an instrument in writing.
In the event of any breach, violators are liable to the payment of a fine and/or imprisonment in line with the Quarantine Act, Public Health Law and any other existing law.
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