PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY ON COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is an updated advisory on COVID-19 which will be updated frequently to reflect new information and research emerging on the disease and its impact on populations.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through the National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has continued to lead the national public health response in Nigeria with oversight of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19). The NCDC is also working closely with all states of the Federation to support their response activities to the pandemic.

 

Several measures have been instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the PTF-COVID-19 together with the Federal Ministry of Health to curtail the spread of the disease and protect the health of Nigerians. This includes an initial lockdown of non-essential activities; closure of schools; a ban on international flights etc.  Nigeria is one of many countries that have commenced the gradual easing of lockdown measures initially instituted at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to ensure a balance between preserving lives and livelihoods while addressing the socio-economic disruptions caused by the outbreak.

Further to reviewing the response nationwide, and with the conclusion that Nigeria is not yet ready for a full reopening of the economy, the PTF-COVID-19 announced the extension of Phase 3 of the Eased Lockdown for a period of four weeks, effective from 19th of October 2020. This is in line with amendments to address economic, socio-political and health considerations, and are as follows;

 

  • Maintaining the current nationwide curfew from 12am to 4am;
  • Opening of NYSC orientation camps;
  • The gradual re-opening of all educational institutions in a phased manner;
  • Maintaining the restrictions on mass gatherings outside the workplace to no more than 50 persons;
  • Removal of the limitation on civil servants allowed to come to work with alternate day arrangements;
  • Re-commencement of sporting leagues, in particular all outdoor activities such as football;
  • Recreational parks, event centres and restaurants to open for outdoor service only while bars and night clubs shall remain closed;
  • Mandatory use of non-medical facemasks in public spaces. ‘No mask, no entry. No mask, no service;
  • Maintaining ‘No Mask, No Voting’ policy with enforcement of guidance on conducting safe elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The NCDC continues to expand laboratories for the testing of COVID-19 and has commenced the use of GeneXpert across the country to scale-up testing. The current list of laboratories for the testing of COVID-19 in Nigeria can be here. Through the #TakeResponsibility campaign by the NCDC, Nigerians and residents in the country are urged to take greater individual and collective responsibility in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. All resources, guidelines and real-time updates on COVID-19 in Nigeria can be found on https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/.

While the ban on domestic and international flights have been lifted, operations have commenced with safety advisories in place. The NCDC continues to work with the Port Health Services, Nigeria Customs Service, and Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure enhanced surveillance at all points of entry.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has reviewed the protocol for all return travellers to Nigeria. Effective from 4th April 2022, as detailed below;

  • All passengers travelling to Nigeria from any country MUST register via the online Nigeria International Travel Portal (nitp.ncdc.gov.ng)
  • Fully vaccinated passengers arriving in Nigeria will not be required to carry out a pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test nor carry out a Post-arrival PCR test or Rapid Antigen Test upon arrival in Nigeria
  • Fully vaccinated passengers must show a verifiable full vaccination certificate otherwise, they will be treated as unvaccinated/partially vaccinated under this protocol
  • Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated passengers are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test 48hrs before departure and conduct days 2 and 7 post-arrival PCR tests. Such passengers will be expected to pay for their PCR tests through the NITP
  • Children below the age of 18 years will be accorded the same privileges as persons who are fully vaccinated.
  • Passengers who do not adhere to the travel protocol will face the penalty as stipulated by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19

All health workers are strongly advised to maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19 when attending to patients and take detailed information. The NCDC has published several guidelines including infection prevention control and case management of COVID-19. These can be accessed via https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/guideline/

The NCDC has published a guideline for employers and businesses in Nigeria. Businesses are advised to amplify the #TakeResponsibility campaign and ensure compliance to Non-Pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) within the business environment.

If you are showing known COVID-19 symptoms such as such as cough, fever, and difficulty in breathing etc.,  you must immediately call your state helpline. They have the most up to date and state-specific information on COVID-I9 including sample collection sites.

Vulnerable groups i.e. people over the age of 60 and/or people with pre-existing medical conditions should avoid non-essential outings and visitors. Where possible, have a friend or family member bring you supplies. This is critical as if infected with the virus, vulnerable persons may have severe complications that could be fatal. See NCDC advisory for vulnerable groups here.

To reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following measures:

  1. Wear a face mask/covering when out in public
  2. Wash your hands frequently with soap under running water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitiser if water is not available
  3. Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others in public spaces
  4. Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use. You may also cough into your elbow if a tissue is not available
  5. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness
  6. Stay home if you feel unwell until you recover. Do not mingle with others or congregate
  7. Avoid large gatherings of more than 50 persons and gatherings where physical distancing measures are not put in place

COVID-19 appears to cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing. There is no specific cure yet for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials to test various potential antivirals. Current management of cases aims to relieve the symptoms while the body’s immune system fights the illness.

Connect Centre

Toll Free Number: 6232
SMS Number: +234809 955 5577