“These have been the worst days of my life” says the Mayor of Lagos, as flames and virus spread across region
Hugo Pereira, Mayor of Lagos, confessed today in statements to journalists, that, since the recent COVID-19 outbreak in his municipality was detected, he has lived through the “worst days” of his life.
The mayor was speaking after the press conference that took place this Friday afternoon at the headquarters of the District Civil Protection Commission, in Loulé, and where the big theme was the spread of COVID-19 in the region as a result of an illegal party in Odiáxere.
By midnight yesterday, 1222 tests had been carried out on individuals not only across the region, but across the country, all of whom somehow came into contact with someone who was present at this party. This number includes those who were at the party, and the family, friends or work connections of those who were there. Up to the same time, 76 confirmed cases of Covid-19 had resulted from these tests, most of them in Lagos, but also in Portimão, Lagoa, Albufeira and Loulé. Nine of the cases are children under 9 years old.
Ana Cristina Guerreiro, regional health delegate, admitted, at the same press conference, that the total number of cases should reach “close to 100”, but stressed that the outbreak will be “contained”.
The Mayor of Lagos added that “by Sunday, we should have around 1500 tests carried out by the various entities, some organized by the Municipality of Lagos, others by the Algarve Biomedical Centre, others by private employers, others still by the Health Authority, with the Public Health Laboratory in the region”. This will allow both the public and health officials to “have a great picture” of what happened.
Mayor Pereira added that, so far, the people tested had done so voluntarily. “There has been no need to force people to take tests, in a coercive way”, he guaranteed.
Even so, he launched an appeal, asking whoever was at the party or connected to people who were there, and who has not yet done the COVID-19 screening test to go voluntarily to the health authorities.
The mayor underlined the great effort that Lagos Council has made to contain this outbreak of the virus. “We grasped the problem and, together with the health authorities and civil protection, we did what had to be done: act, to quickly identify all points of contagion, and, through a large amount of tests, try to understand by where the virus could be”.
“We think we have taken all the steps. We assumed that this was what should be done and that only that way could it be controlled and not let the number of infected people expand, since the number of people involved in the event was large and it had been a week since the party”, he added.
But the Mayor of Lagos demands that the Public Prosecutor’s Office act, initiating an investigation to look into what happened. “My main concern at the moment is public health, but we do not take this other situation off the table: justice will have do its work, as a way to retract any other similar event, whether in Lagos, or anywhere else in the country”.
It is necessary that justice shows “that crime does not pay off, that illegality does not pay off”, he stressed.
Moreover, Pereira didn’t hide his grief at the consequences of the illegal party: “from one party, they created a very complicated situation, and the numbers are evident: at this moment we have many infected children, who did not go to the party, we have some older people, who also did not attend but are also affected”.
“And then we have a whole economy that, in the last week, has gone down without knowing which way to turn, because of a party in bad taste and irresponsibility”.
“This is what I want justice to show: that there was someone who did not comply with the rules, so we must make this case an example, so that the situation does not repeat itself”, concludes the Mayor of Lagos.