The federal government of Nigeria said on Monday that COVID-19 can now be transmitted through the atmosphere.
The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this during the PTF briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.
“Understanding the mode of transmission of any new virus is very critical for defining response strategy.
“For COVID-19 from the very beginning, our understanding based on other coronaviruses spread was primarily through droplets, excretion from the respiratory tract that can’t stay on air but ultimately fall to the ground after a few minutes.
“However, as we have studied transmission, we saw increasing evidence from clusters of infection that droplets transmission does not seem to be enough to explain the clusters that we are seeing.
“Over the past few weeks, increasing evidence has emerged that in addition to droplet infection, we cannot rule out that airborne transmission is also possible as a mode of transmission of COVID-19 and WHO has updated its guidelines on this saying exactly the same thing,” Ihekweazu said.
He said this means that staying together in close spaces and clusters such as in restaurants, small rooms with very poor ventilation increases the risk of transmission.
“Indoor activities are riskier than outdoor activities especially when there are many people in a room, when they don’t adhere to distancing and when people don’t wear masks.
“This means we have to strengthen further the avoidance of mass gatherings or gatherings of any nature in small spaces.
“So we have to pay attention to ventilation, distancing, stay outside as preferred to inside, continue to wash your hands and absolutely wear a mask whenever we are outside the home.
“We will keep adapting our guidelines as we progress.
“It is not shameful to change your guidelines from week to week as new evidence emerges.
“That is what we are committed to doing.
“To guide the response by our leaders, to give them the best evidence possible to make the very hard decisions that we need to make collectively as we learn to live with this outbreak as safely as possible over the months to come,” the NDDC boss said.
The federal government said it’s in need of more oxygen and ventilators to halt the rising death rate as a result of coronavirus.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, stated this in Abuja during the briefing of the task force.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said the number of hospitalised people is on the increase and the major concern of the government is to have enough oxygen nationwide to attend to emergencies.
“An enhanced risk communication strategy becomes inevitable when we realise that within the last 24 hours, the world witnessed the largest single day cases of 230,370 while in Nigeria, last week recorded the highest weekly fatality of 70 deaths,” the SGF said.