Tuesday, February 7, 2023

COVID-19: NCDC Issues Public Health Advisory

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Following the Presidential approval for the relaxation of COVID-19 safety measures and travel advisory in the country, the Nigeria Centre for Prevention and Control (NCDC) has issued a public health advisory. 

Speaking to journalists today in Abuja, the NCDC director-general, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa said its advisory was borne of the observed decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and the steady increase in vaccination coverage in the country. 

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the immediate relaxation of COVID- 19 safety measures and travel advisory following the recommendations of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) and based clinical and laboratory evidence of a sustained reduction in COVID-19 infection/transmission across the country. 

This includes the lifting of COVID-19 protocols for travellers, the compulsory use of face masks in public spaces and restrictions on mass gatherings, according to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman, PSC on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha. 

Adetifa said due to recent assessments of the COVID-19 situation in the country, the agency has also transitioned from weekly case announcements for COVID-19 to biweekly situation reports for COVID-19. 

“However, we continue to advise Nigerians to visit the nearest government health facility to get vaccinated if they have not been previously vaccinated. Complete your vaccination dose if you are partially vaccinated and get your booster dose for increased immunity.

“Persons in the high-risk category for severe COVID-19 hospitalisation, including the elderly, those with conditions or on treatments that affect their immune systems and those with hypertension, diabetes and other significant chronic illnesses are advised to continue to use their facemask in crowded places.

“Wash your hands with soap under running water frequently or use an alcohol-based sanitiser, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow or a disposable tissue and get tested for COVID-19 if you notice COVID-19-associated symptoms,” he advised. 

He advised self-isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19 “until you recover. Adhere to the published guidelines for home-based care of mild COVID-19 cases [by checking] https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/media/files/.

The NCDC boss urged Nigerians to fill out the simplified Health Declaration Form (not exclusive to COVID-19) on the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) before or on arrival in the country. 

“Although no longer a pre-requisite for travel, we recommend filling this simple health declaration form before travel to Nigeria to avoid any additional delays on arrival at our airports,” he said.  

Adetifa added that the NCDC would continue to maintain surveillance (including genomic surveillance) to monitor the COVID-19 trends locally and monitor the global situation to inform public health measures to protect the health of Nigerians. 

He, however, called on Nigerians to ensure that they take their COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Racheal Abujah
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