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COVID-19: Face Masks Still Mandatory In Nigeria – SGF

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

Sequel to the upward trend of COVID-19 infection across the globe, the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) has restated that face masks are still mandatory in the country to curb the spread of the virus.  

The chairman, PSC and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha said this today (August 8, 2022) in Abuja, at the launch of the SCALES 3.0 strategy for COVID-19 vaccination in the country organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). 

Recall that the Federal Government in April said the country’s rules on face mask was not completely abolished. The use of facemasks indoors or in other high-risk settings such as in public transport government said was still recommended while used in outdoor places was discretionary in the country. 

The National PSC on COVID-19  leveraged available evidence such as the continuous downward trend of COVID-19 positive case numbers in the country as of April 2022, to revise the travel protocol. 

The country also implemented a four-tier consolidation phase of the COVID-19 pandemic response focused on continued surveillance, genomic sequencing, surge testing and vaccination. 

Also, it removed the limit on attendance for social gatherings and the curfew on midnight movements it announced two years previously to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Mustapha said the COVID19 infections were once again high across the globe and said that wearing a face mask is a vital measure to prevent the spread of the disease, even if people were fully vaccinated.  

The SGF said that face mask is used as a component of public health safety measures, which has been an important part of the country’s COVID-19 response.  

“Keep in mind that continuously wearing a face mask in certain public situations can help protect those who have compromised immune systems or are high-risk.  

“Proper wearing of face mask will reduce the probability of transmission between an individual who is infectious and one who is susceptible to infection and helps protect those with a high risk of infection and severe disease. 

“[For] example, the elderly and those with cardiovascular and other disease and particularly in environments with a high risk of transmission – indoors – and where there is crowding,” he explained. 

He stated that the country has continued to experience changes in the factors that influence the demand and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.  

“These changing situations are not uniform across the country. They vary from state to state; therefore, require continuous review of our strategies for promoting demand and ensuring vaccine access and accountability. 

“Earlier in February 2022, we launched the optimised SCALES 2.0 strategy, which even though has proven to be effective in ramping up COVID-19 vaccination coverage, the proportion of fully vaccinated Nigerians is still low when compared to the set target. 

“The present record shows that only 24.4 per cent of the total eligible population of fully vaccinated as of August 3, 2022, leaves much to be desired,” he said. 

The chairman said that the SCALES 3.0 strategy launched would address the identified implementation gaps in SCALES 2.0 and bring about more accountability for performance, strengthen electronic data reporting and promote robust demand generation at the community levels across the country. 

According to him, It is safe to state that there is a significant decline in deaths arising from COVID-19 as a result of the ongoing vaccination, we should not lower our guards or give in to complacency as the virus is still very much around us and can mutate. We must encourage all around us to get vaccinated. 

He advised Nigerians not to relent in observing the non-pharmaceutical measures of wearing masks and to “keep physical distance and wash our hands regularly until we have vaccinated at least 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians to achieve herd immunity. No one is safe until everyone is safe. Like HIV, COVID-19 No Dey Show For Face,” he stressed. 

He called on all stakeholders to mobilise their community members, aged 18 years and above, to ensure they all get vaccinated. 

“I also urge parents to ensure that all their eligible children receive the vaccination as well as against childhood diseases,” he called. 

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