Barely a week after the Nigerian government announced that wearing face masks in open public places will no longer be compulsory, the country Tuesday recorded 48 additional COVID-19 infections.
The latest statistics as revealed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday morning show that the new infections were recorded across four states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It is, however, not clear whether the relaxation of the protocol instituted by the government contributed to the new infections announced by the disease centre.
Cumulatively since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, NCDC said Nigeria has recorded a total of 255,516 infections, while the fatality toll remains at 3,142 since February 18, 2022, when the last fatality case was recorded.
NCDC noted that the latest figures include data for April 2 to 4, 2022, raising the infection toll to 255,516 cases, without affecting the fatality toll.
The breakdown of the latest data shows that Lagos State, Nigeria’s epicentre of the disease, topped the infection chart with 25 new cases.
Rivers State in the South-south and Kaduna State in the North-west reported 11 and six cases respectively.
While the FCT recorded five infections, Abia State in the South-east recorded a single case.
Relaxation of face masks protocol
On April 30, the head of the technical secretariat, Presidential Steering Committee, PSC, on COVID-19, Muktar Muhammed, disclosed in Abuja that the decision on the final relaxation of COVID-19 measures will be taken after Easter, Tribune newspaper reported.
Countries across the world have started relaxing COVID-19 measures, including Ghana, which recently announced that the use of face masks was no longer mandatory.
He said: “We are easing up restrictions, but it’s important we do so responsibly.
“Last week, we suspended the limit placed on public gatherings, curfews, and other social measures.
“The use of face masks in open spaces is now discretionary.
“We shall not hesitate to remove all mandates once the disease is no longer of public health consequence. We are aware that cases are rising in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe.
“The US just mandated a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults older than 50. We fear a reversal of the pandemic situation, where largely unvaccinated poor countries will be made to bear the burden because the West has developed very high immunity through large-scale vaccination.
“Our biggest fear now is the upcoming Easter holidays. If we can cross and the cases continue to go down with no significant increase in hospitalisation and death, then certainly, we will lower our level of alertness and relax most of the measures.
“We are working with data and algorithms to determine our line of action. Everything depends on what happens next. We learn from other countries, but we don’t have to necessarily copy what they are doing. Every country should evaluate its risk and take responsibility.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999