The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that wearing of face masks should be made mandatory in public places, urging all shops, businesses, service centers and places authorized to open to the public, to require that their customers and visitors use masks and adhere to these simple measures or else be denied entry so as to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Minister disclosed this at the Press Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday, he said studies in many countries have confirmed the effectiveness of wearing masks in reducing the risk of covid transmission, since it provides mutual protection to all wearers. He added that It is therefore still important, for Nigerians not to give up, but continue to practice these measures, especially using facemasks, physical distancing and imbibing social courtesies like not sneezing or coughing into open space, but into a tissue, especially with people around.
“Countries in the world, including even the most liberal in Europe, are now making masks mandatory for people who use public transport and even outdoors, and they are imposing a fine for non-compliance. We urge all shops, businesses, service centers and places authorized to open to the public, to require that their customers and visitors use masks and adhere to these simple measures or else be denied entry.
“It is also important to state for clarity: 1. that masks must cover the mouth and nose 2. that a mask pushed under the chin is not effective and should not be under the chin for any reason. 3. that we need the mask most, when we are speaking, and it should therefore not be removed to speak, 4. that wearing a face shield alone has not been proven to offer the same protection as a mask and should either be combined with a mask or totally left to healthcare providers, for whom they were actually intended”, he said.
He noted that a total of 199,016 tests of COVID-19 has been done, bringing to a total of 34,259 persons so far confirmed positive, of which 13,999 have been successfully treated and discharged. “We have regrettably recorded 760 fatalities, mostly with co-morbidities, and a total fatality rate of 2.21% as at when the report was filed. As the numbers continue to rise in this phase of community transmission, Nigeria, like many other countries has hardly any other tool left, than to focus on the value of non-pharmaceutical measures for prevention”, he said.