The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Monday issued a public health advisory ahead of this year's Christmas, warning Nigerians to limit all non-essential domestic and international travel.
In the advisory released on Monday, the Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu explained that the advisory was important particularly, for intending travellers from countries recording a high number of COVID-19 cases.
Ihekweazu said as an alternative to travel, the public should consider limiting festivities to members of their immediate household and remain socially connected with friends and loved ones using mobile or video conferencing technology.
"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.
"The coronavirus does not spread on its own; it spreads when people move around. This means that by travelling across countries and cities, there is a higher risk of transmission, especially to rural areas where the existing health infrastructure is already weak."
Noting that Nigeria has recorded over 67,000 COVID-19 cases, over 1,000 deaths, he said people can hold virtual services and prayer sessions to limit mass congregation.
"Limit person-to-person contact and physical movement using electronic money transfers
Systems, always wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings, such as religious centres and market places. Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others in public settings and 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"
He advised Nigerians to avoid direct contact with people such as hugging and handshaking, cover their mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper, or your elbow when sneezing and/or coughing and dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use and wash their hands.
Other recommendations include; avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, staying at home if unwell, and call your state helpline and people should not mingle with others if they have symptoms such as fever, cough, or sudden loss of sense of taste or smell.
He encouraged public settings including religious settings, businesses, and markets to ensure adherence to public health and safety measures.
"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.
"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 travelling."
Vanguard News Nigeria