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COVID-19: NCDC issues new advisory on face masks

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COVID-19: Why Easter weekend will be hard for us - NCDC boss, Ihekweazu

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued new advisory to guide citizens on the use of face masks to prevent coronavirus.

The Director-General (D-G) of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, gave the advise on Tuesday while giving an update on COVID-19.

He observed that globally, there was a debate on the effectiveness of masks as a preventive measure against the disease.

Ihekweazu said findings show that masks can prevent an asymptomatic person (someone who never develops symptoms) from transmitting the disease as well as prevent transmission during pre-symptomatic period (before a person develops symptoms).

He confirmed that there was emerging evidence of the ability of a mask to prevent contact with respiratory droplets.

“Sources of concern have been that people who wear face masks may feel protected and ignore physical distancing advice”, NAN quoted him as saying.

“In addition, if face masks are not worn correctly, disposed of appropriately or if people touch their faces more frequently due to adjustments of face masks they are wearing, they run a higher risk of infection.”

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Ihekweazu advised that wearing of face masks or equivalents was recommended as an optional layer to be used in addition to physical distancing, hand washing and other hygiene measures.

“Masks have to be properly disposed of in waste bins. Improper handling and frequently touching of masks can increase the risk of infection.

“Improvised masks are an option as long as they are properly washed regularly. They can be made out of cloth or other materials,” he added.

The D-G said that usage of face masks was particularly advisable when attending gatherings “absolutely necessary”.

NCDC has, however, reminded Nigerians that Lassa Fever symptoms are just like those of malaria.

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