The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recommended the use of face masks for members of the public without respiratory symptoms.
The recommendation is contained in the NCDC’s ‘Advisory on the Use of Masks by Members of the Public Without Respiratory Symptoms’ document which was released on Tuesday April 14.
The agency said face masks can act as an “additional layer” in the battle against COVID-19 in the country but added that it was not compulsory. It advised older people with pre-existing conditions to wear face masks as well as a person visiting a crowded place, such as a market.
Below are the five recommendations of the NCDC on face masks in the country:
1. The wearing of face masks, (or equivalent) is recommended as an optional
additional layer to be used in addition to other measures such as physical
distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene measures in Nigeria. The primary rationale for the advice on face masks is to prevent those who
are infected but asymptomatic from spreading the virus.
Masks have to be properly disposed of in waste bins. Improper handling and frequently touching masks can increase the risk of infection. Improvised masks are also an option – as long as they are properly washed regularly. They can
be made out of cloth or other materials.
2. The usage of face masks is particularly advised while attending large
gatherings (where it is absolutely necessary to attend). These include but
are not limited to shopping outlets, markets, shops and pharmacies among
3. Given the global shortage of personal protective equipment including
medical masks, public sector resources should be preserved to procure
medical masks for patients and healthcare workers who need them the
4. The wearing of face masks alone will not protect against COVID-19, but
must be combined with physical distancing, handwashing, respiratory
hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and other
advice from NCDC.
5. Older persons (> 60) with existing medical conditions such as diabetes
are particularly encouraged to wear masks as they are at higher risk
of infection. It is also further advised that face masks are used by more
vulnerable members of the society, citizens with ongoing respiratory
problems, and those already exhibiting symptoms and awaiting testing.