COVID-19: continued spread will harm economy, health systems -NCDC DG

The Director General, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has warmed that the continued spread of COVID-19 would increase the pressure on the nation’s fragile health systems and threaten the economy.

Ihekweazu gave the warning on Thursday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

According to the DG, the risk of spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is higher in confined spaces, where there is close contact of less than two metres, with an infected, but possibly asymptomatic person.

He counseled that all physical meetings should be restricted or converted to virtual meetings, whenever possible.

The NCDC boss said that if physical meetings must be held, people must ensure that there was adequate ventilation in the room, the number of attendees limited, and all staff members wore face masks, maintained physical distance of at least two metres and adhered to other public health measures.

“The riskier the longer someone has close contact with an infected person. This highlights the importance of ensuring strict and continued adherence to public measures in workplaces and business premises.

“Employers and business owners have a responsibility to stay abreast of guidelines and recommendations from the NCDC, to protect their staff, visitors and customers,” Ihekweazu said.

He also listed some guidelines for employers and business owners, to safeguard the health and safety of employees and customers.

The NCDC boss said that temperature checks must be carried out on all employees and customers entering office and business premises and that any person with a temperature 38 degrees Celsius or above, should be denied entry and advised to go for a health check.

“No mask, no entry, no service, all staff members, visitors and customers entering workplaces, shops or business premises must wear a face mask that should cover the mouth and nose at all times, and should not be removed, especially if speaking to another person in close proximity.

“All office and business premises must have a hand washing station with running water and soap or hand sanitizer at the entrance. Employers and business owners have a responsibility to ensure hand sanitizers are always refilled and soap and water always available,” he said.(NAN)