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Use of face mask no longer compulsory – Nigerian govt

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The Nigerian government has said that the use of face masks in public places is no longer compulsory but optional.

The government has further revealed that the decision on the final relaxation of COVID-19 measures will come after the Easter holiday.

The Head of the Technical Secretariat and Secretary of the PSC on COVID-19, Dr Muktar Muhammed, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja.

Nigeria has continued to witness a drop in the number of daily COVID-19 cases.

The PSC also announced that it would now stop the PCR tests for vaccinated travellers.

Muhammed stated, “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 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 are able to cross and the cases continue to go down with no significant increase in hospitalisation and death, then certainly, we will lower down 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.”

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