A public health advisory to members of the public was issued by Nigerian health authorities this week ahead of events to mark Eid-el-Kabir. This is based on the high risk of spread of COVID—19 in Nigeria and the need for collective responsibility to prevent a surge in cases.
In addition to the ongoing transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Nigeria, the Delta variant which is more transmissible than other known SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, has been detected in the country.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread when people gather and do not adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures. As Eid-el-Kabir is celebrated in Nigeria this year, the public is urged to be aware of the high risk of spread of COVID-19, and adhere to the following preventive measures:
1. Limit all non-essential domestic and international travel. This is especially important for intending travellers from countries with a high number of new COVID-19 cases. If you must travel to Nigeria, please adhere to the self-isolation, testing and other travel-related protocols
2. Always wear a facemask that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings or with people outside your household
3. Maintain physical distance of at least two metres from people outside your household
4. Avoid direct contact with people such as hugging and handshaking. Avoid sharing items such as prayer mats and kettles
5. If you must gather, please do this outdoors; otherwise, ensure that the indoor venue has enough space to accommodate attendees with appropriate physical distancing, adequate ventilation, and air flow. This must be in line with the existing COVID-19 health regulations
6. 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
7. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue paper, or your elbow when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use and wash your hands.
8. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness
9. Stay at home if you feel unwell and call your state helpline for information on how to access testing. Do not mingle with others if you have symptoms such as fever, cough or sudden loss of sense of taste or smell
10. Vulnerable groups i.e. people 60 years and above and/or people with pre-existing medical conditions should avoid non-essential outings and visitors. Where possible, a friend or family member should safely deliver food or any needed supplies.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) appeals to religious and traditional leaders to ensure adherence to safe practices at mosques, places of worship and other venues, where religious and social gatherings occur.