The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a public health advisory on its website to the public to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
The NCDC director-general, Ifedayo Adetifa, issued the guidelines in view of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the country and globally.
“In addition to the COVID-19 situation in Nigeria and globally, the upcoming Eid-El-Kabir celebrations against a backdrop of suboptimal COVID-19 vaccination uptake and increasing COVID-19 case numbers calls for increased individual and collective responsibility,” the agency said.
It added, “The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings and when people do not adhere to preventive measures such as physical distancing, mask use, and hand hygiene.”
Available data from the NCDC website showed that there was a 390.4 per cent increase in testing, which led to an increase in the report of positive cases.
It stated that “in weeks 23 and 24, the number of samples tested increased to 75,277 from 15,347 reported in weeks 21 and 22. These were reported in the 36 states and FCT.”
The report further disclosed that “in weeks 23 and 24, the number of confirmed cases in absolute numbers increased to 445 from 267 in weeks 21 and 22 (May 23 to June 5). In weeks 23 and 24, discharged cases increased to 185 from 47 in weeks 21 and 22.”
Mr Adetifa explained that the guidelines were based on the prevailing risk from the virus and the need for religious organisations, community leaders, and the public to take necessary precautions ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
The NCDC boss urged Nigerians while celebrating to prevent the onset of a full-fledged fifth COVID-19 wave by remaining mindful of the high risk of the spread of COVID-19 and acting in tandem by adhering to recommended public health safety measures.
“How you can protect yourself and those around you: Visit the nearest government health facility to get vaccinated if you have not been previously vaccinated. If you received your first two vaccine doses up to six months ago, please go and get your booster dose,” he stated. “Maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5m from others, even if they do not appear to be sick. Avoid crowding (indoors and outdoors) and close contact. Wear a properly fitted face mask when in crowded open and closed places, especially in poorly ventilated settings. Wash hands frequently with soap under running water or clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based sanitiser.”
According to the latest situation report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of weekly COVID-19 cases has increased globally for the third consecutive week.