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COVID-19: Limit travel during Yuletide – NCDC advises Nigerians

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has advised Nigerians to limit all non-essential domestic and international travel during the Christmas and New Year period to curb the spread of COVID-19.

NCDC issued this public health advisory recently for all members of the public to increase awareness about the continued risks relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is important for intending travellers from countries recording a high number of COVID-19 cases.

“Across the world, Christmas is a time for celebration and festive cheer, as well as an increase in religious and social gatherings. During the Christmas and New Year celebrations, we recognise that people want to travel and be with family and friends.

However, this has been a difficult year and the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our usual way of living and we all have to make adjustments in our lives to the new reality we are faced with. We must all continue to take the necessary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19″.

As an alternative to travel, the following should be considered: Limit festivities to members of your immediate household. While remaining physically distanced, remain socially connected with friends and loved ones using mobile or video conferencing technology.

Hold virtual services and prayer sessions to limit mass congregation. Limit person-to-person contact and physical movement using electronic money transfers systems. Always wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings, such as religious centres and market places

Maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres from others in public settings. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty and running water is not readily available. Avoid direct contact with people such as hugging and handshaking

Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper, or your elbow when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use and wash your hands. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness

Stay at home if you feel unwell and call your state helpline. Do not mingle with others if you have symptoms such as fever, cough or sudden loss of sense of taste or smell. Public settings including religious settings, businesses, markets should ensure adherence to public health and safety measures

Vulnerable groups i.e. people 60 and above and/or people with pre-existing medical conditions should avoid non-essential outings and visitors. Where possible, have a friend or family member bring you supplies. See NCDC advisory for more information.

Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, just over 67,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported with just over 1,000 deaths. Most of the confirmed cases and deaths have been in urban/semi-urban cities and town and the risk of spread remains.

The COVID-19 virus does not spread on its own, it spreads when people move around. This means that by traveling across countries and cities, there is a higher risk of transmission, especially to rural areas where the existing health infrastructure is already weak.



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