The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Monday night alerted that the non-adherence to public health and social measures by Nigerians was exacerbating the public health response efforts to limit the continued spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Disclosing this in its latest Public Health Advisory released last night, the Centre noted that Nigeria has hits an unenviable 100,087 confirmed cases, with 1,358 deaths as of 10th of January 2021,
It also alerted that since January 2021, Nigeria has recorded a consistent increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease.
According to NCDC, the average number of daily confirmed cases recorded in the first week of January 2021, was higher than the cumulative cases recorded the last week of December 2020.
“While the public may be tired of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, the virus is taking advantage of the fatigue and complacency, instead gaining momentum and taking advantage of lapses in the adherence to the public health measures.
“To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the public is reminded to wear a face mask properly, wash hands with soap and water, and physically distance from others. This is not the time to let down our guard. The virus that causes COVID-19 never went away and is still very much with us, as evidenced by the rising cases in Nigeria and globally.”
It further noted that COVID-19 can affect all age groups with severe outcomes in the elderly (50 years and above), and in persons with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer etc.
Noting that there had been increased infection among the younger age groups, NCDC urged all persons to take responsibility and adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions -regular hand washing, maintaining physical distance and proper use of face mask).
It, however, pledged that as the country’s public health institute, NCDC would continue to work with other agencies under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health, in leading the public health response to the outbreak.
“Following the festive season, and in view of the increase in the number of confirmed cases in Nigeria, the NCDC and partners, with leadership from the Federal Ministry of Health and Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 is putting in place measures to strengthen the public health response to the pandemic.
It further disclosed that It was working closely with state governments, providing support through the deployment of Rapid Response Teams, provision of laboratory and medical supplies as well as other response activities.
“We urge state governments to take greater ownership of their response, maintaining their COVID-19 surveillance structures, laboratory diagnosis and testing. Unless states actively test, they will not know their disease burden, putting local communities at greater risk of adverse outcomes, if the virus is not detected and impacts vulnerable,”
It also noted that testing remains one of the best tools to fight against COVID-19, as it enables prompt clinical management and helps in preventing further transmission, adding that although the country was yet to meet its total testing capacity, it remains a major priority for the response.
“Re-iterating to healthcare professionals to maintain a high index of suspicion, the centre urged Nigerians to adhere to the recommended public health and social measures.
“ Avoid all non-essential travel within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission. The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings, especially in confined spaces with poor ventilation. It is advised that people avoid mass gatherings during this time, and if necessary meet outdoors and adhere to physical distancing and other public health measures. All these measures are critical in order to sustain the gains made since the onset of the pandemic.
“We also strongly advise business owners, employees and religious leaders to institute the strict enforcement and adherence to public measures, which include the wearing of face masks, ensuring the availability of handwashing facilities or providing hand sanitizers.
“The NCDC remains grateful to all frontline health workers, state public health teams, stakeholders, and partners who have continued to work extremely hard since the beginning of the pandemic supporting the response efforts. We are all eager to get back to the normalcy in our lives, so the continued response and end to the outbreak starts and ends with all of us,” NCDC stated.