The federal government is considering compulsory use of face masks by all Nigerians to stop the spread of COVID-19, whose cases rose by eight yesterday to hit 139.
It’s also reviewing the protocols for implementing the 14-day lockdown of Lagos and Ogun states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
To step up the treatment of the infected, the government has recalled retired health workers who are now being trained to support the overall preparedness and treatment regimen.
Other measures to combat the pandemic include opening more testing centres so that Nigeria would be able to test 1,500 people daily in a bid to fast-track the detection rate.
Data from the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) showed that the country has so far tested over 2,000 people since the outbreak of the pandemic on February 27.
The federal government is also considering a relief package, targeted at cushioning 11 million people from the difficulties occasioned by COVID-19.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the agency was considering compulsory use of face masks to mitigate against the spread of the virus.
Ihekweazu noted that though the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recommended that face mask should only be used by health workers, NCDC might recommend a national strategy around its use for the public to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
He said the centre was considering that approach in the light of new emerging evidence, adding that for the mask to be effective on a population basis, they might recommend its use for everyone.
“This is a strategy we need to think about before we implement it. Before we implement a national strategy around mask-wearing, we have to be sure we can provide it or at least enable access to it. We will allow for the risk assessment and as the evidence comes together, we will make a decision based on the evidence and ability to provide every Nigerian with access to mask,” he said.