The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has urged Nigerians to start using face masks in public places to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
While speaking during a media briefing on Monday, April 13, 2020, the minister said the masks provide extra protection from the virus that has infected nearly 2 million people across the world, and crippled social and economic activities.
He said the masks can be improvised or homemade and don’t necessarily have to be of high quality as the N95 masks recommended for health workers.
“A layered cotton fabric over the mouth and nose guards against particle emission during laughter, exclamation or loud talk and may offer mutual protection to wearers, especially where social distancing may not be achieved, or where close contact may not be avoided with certainty, such as markets,”
He added that the new guideline is only a recommendation by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, and won’t be enforced by the government.
However, Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, announced on Monday that wearing face masks in public places will become compulsory for everyone in the state.
“Government is finalising arrangements to make facemasks available to persons on essential duties, including foodstuff sellers in markets,”
The governor noted that the directive was in compliance with recent findings. Since COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, many in the international community have disagreed over who needs to wear a mask.
As of April 13, Nigeria has recorded 343 coronavirus cases in 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
91 people have recovered from the virus and been discharged, but 10 people have died.