[Just In] COVID-19: FG Says Wearing Of Face Masks In Public Places Now Optional


COVID-19: FG Says Wearing Of Face Masks Now OptionalFederal Government through Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has said the use of face masks in public places is now optional.

The committee on COVID-19 in Nigeria also said the decision on the final relaxation of the measures taken against the pandemic will be decided after Easter.

In an interview with ThePunch, Head of the Technical Secretariat, who also doubles as the Secretary of the PSC on COVID-19, Dr Muktar Muhammed, disclosed this.

The latest development comes as countries across the world have started relaxing COVID-19 measures including West African country like Ghana.

Ghana reopened its land and sea borders on Monday after a two-year closure as it lifted some coronavirus restrictions in an attempt to bolster a flagging economy.

Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo also announced in a televised address that the wearing of masks in the West African country is no longer mandatory as active COVID-19 cases drop below 100.

The drop in daily COVID-19 cases is also being witnessed in Nigeria. As at March 30, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recorded 74 new cases.

Speaking further, Secretary of the PSC on COVID-19, Dr Muhammed also announced that it would stop demanding proof of PCR tests from fully vaccinated travellers.

He expressed;

We are easing up restrictions, but it’s important we do so responsibly. Last week, we suspended the limit placed on public gatherings, curfews and other social measures. The use of face masks in open spaces is now discretionary.

The Secretary continued;

We shall not hesitate to remove all mandates once the disease is no longer of public health consequence. We are aware that cases are rising in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe. The US just mandated a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for adults older than 50. We fear a reversal of the pandemic situation, where largely unvaccinated poor countries will be made to bear the burden, because the West has developed very high immunity through large scale vaccination.

Our biggest fear now is the upcoming Easter holidays. If we are able to cross and the cases continue to go down with no significant increase in hospitalisation and death, then certainly, we will lower down our level of alertness and relax most of the measures.

He added;

We are working with data and algorithms to determine our line of action. Everything depends on what happens next. We learn from other countries, but we don’t have to necessarily copy what they are doing. Every country should evaluate its risk and take responsibility.

Meanwhile, data from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has revealed that a total of 12,139,797 persons have been fully vaccinated in Nigeria, while 18,942,020 persons have been partially vaccinated.

NPHCDA announced that Moderna, Astrazeneca, Pfizer and the Johnson and Johnson brands of COVID-19 vaccines were available for individuals willing to be vaccinated.

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