By Lara Adejoro

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, has advised the Kogi State government not to let down its guard against COVID-19.

Adetifa gave the advice following the directive by the state governor, Yahaya Bello, banning the use of face masks in public places as part of efforts to tackle insecurity in the state.

Bello had, on Tuesday, banned the use of face masks in public places just as he ordered the demolition of shanties in some areas as part of the state government’s response to a series of security breaches experienced in the state in recent times.

The governor gave the directives in Lokoja during a meeting with all first and second-class traditional rulers, including local government chairmen in the state.

However, in an interview with our correspondent, Adetifa said that a threat on COVID-19 in any part of the country is a threat to everyone living in Nigeria; “as such, we must not let down our guard.”

The NCDC boss said the agency’s surveillance system continues to record a gradual increase in COVID-19 cases across the country.

He said, “A similar trend has also been observed globally, with a total of 575,887,049 confirmed cases reported from 230 countries.

“This is a reminder of the prevailing risk we face and the need for continued adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as the use of face masks in closed gatherings, physical distancing, and regular hand washing.

“These should be done in addition to taking the vaccines which have been proven to be safe and effective in reducing the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

 “There have been some obvious challenges and we recognise that the challenges vary from state to state. We remain committed to supporting states in line with our mandate as well as continuous advocacy for progressive collaborations toward ending the pandemic and ensuring health security in Nigeria.”

Medical experts have also berated the Kogi State Government for banning the use of face masks in the state.

They described the ban as a strategy by the governor to further back his claim that there is no COVID-19 in his state.

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