The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued the public health advisory for all members of the public to increase awareness about the continued risks relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, offering advice on the measures that need to be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the upcoming Christmas and New Year period.

Across the world, Christmas is a time for celebration and festive cheer, as well as an increase in religious and social gatherings. During the Christmas and New Year celebrations, we recognise that people want
to travel and be with family and friends.

However, this has been a difficult year and the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our usual way of living and we all have to make adjustments in our lives to the new reality we are faced with. We must all continue to take the necessary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, just over 67,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported with just over 1,000 deaths. Most of the confirmed cases and deaths have been in urban/semi-urban cities and town and the risk of spread remains. The COVID-19 virus does not spread on its own, it spreads when people move around.

This means that by traveling across countries and cities, there is a higher risk of transmission, especially to rural areas where the existing health infrastructure is already weak.

Nigerians are therefore advised to be vigilant, this is not the time to let our guard time. It is therefore
advisable to:

  1. Limit all non-essential domestic and international travel. This is especially important for intending
    travellers from countries recording a high number of COVID-19 cases. As an alternative to travel, the
    following should be considered:
    • Limit festivities to members of your immediate household. While remaining physically
    distanced, remain socially connected with friends and loved ones using mobile or video
    conferencing technology.
    • Hold virtual services and prayer sessions to limit mass congregation.
    • Limit person-to-person contact and physical movement using electronic money transfers
    systems.
  2. Always wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings, such as religious
    centres and market places
  3. Maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres from others in public settings
  4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly
    dirty and running water is not readily available
  5. Avoid direct contact with people such as hugging and handshaking
  6. Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper, or your elbow when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use and wash your hands.
  7. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness
  8. Stay at home if you feel unwell and call your state helpline. Do not mingle with others if you have symptoms such as fever, cough or sudden loss of sense of taste or smell
  9. Public settings including religious settings, businesses, markets should ensure adherence to public health and safety measures.
  10. Vulnerable groups i.e. people 60 and above 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. See NCDC advisory for more information HERE
  11. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise across several countries globally. If you must travel to Nigeria during this period, please ensure strict adherence to the following travel protocols issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19:
  12. Passengers MUST test negative by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from their country of exit 120 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours pre-boarding.
  13. All intending passengers are required to register on the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) via HERE upload their COVID-19 PCR NEGATIVE result and pay for a second PCR test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria. Ensure that the name registered on the NITP matches all travel documents. Present a hard copy of the negative COVID-19 test result, pre-boarding and at the point of entry in Nigeria.
  14. Passengers must remain in self isolation for seven days on return to Nigeria, even if you test negative on entry. A repeat PCR test must be carried out on the 7th day after arrival, to ensure passengers have remained negative, given the risk of infection while traveling
  15. For more information on international travel requirements, visit –HERE SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. The risk of spread is higher in enclosed spaces, especially when ventilation is poor, and where there is poor adherence to the public health measures mandated. Common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, tiredness, sudden loss of taste or smell, diarrhoea, aches and pains. If you experience any of these symptoms, please avoid contact with others immediately. Call your state hotline or visit a sample collection centre close to you.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control continues to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to control the spread of COVID-19 and combatting the spread of the virus will only work with support and engagement from communities and institutions, while protecting the most vulnerable members of our society. We urge all Nigerians to take individual and collective responsibility to protect each other and our country. We are all this together.

By Dotun Roy

DotunRoy.com is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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