COVID-19: NCDC offers self-isolation guidance for Nigeria

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By Abujah Racheal

AbujaB – Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday in Abuja, offered guidance for self-isolation in Nigeria, as the country responds to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General of the centre, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that self-isolation means strictly staying at home or identified accommodation, away from situations where a person mixes with family members or the public for a period of 14 days.

He said “this means any situation where you may come in close contact with others in face to face contact closer than two metres i.e. five feet is dangerous.

“If you are unsure if you should be in self-isolation, or if you do know where you can go, please contact NCDC for free on 080097000010,” he advised.

Ihekweazu said that those who should be self -isolated were all returning travellers from high risk countries with ongoing community transmission and anyone who had been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

“If you have been in contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19, your risk of getting COVID-19 is very low. This is a stressful period, but taking measures will help protect you, your family and all Nigerians from COVID-19,” he said.

The NCDC DG said that travellers returning could be moved from their arrival points in Nigeria to their place of self isolation.

“On arrival to the country, ensure that you are picked up by ONLY one person; you should avoid use of public transport and do sit in the co-drivers’ seat, maintain at least one metre between yourself and the driver.

“Ensure adequate ventilation throughout your trip and avoid contact with the driver. You should travel across states in Nigeria during the self-isolation period either by plane, train, bus or car.”

He said that close contact should be within one metre with a confirmed case person.

Ihekweazu said that for travellers and contacts of confirmed cases, they were required to provide their name, next of kin, physical address and telephone contact to the relevant health authorities so they could be monitored during self-isolation.

“These details will guide our surveillance teams in monitoring you while under self-isolation for 14 days. And if living with others, please stay in one room.

“You should limit your contact with people. You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food without having physical contact with you.

“If you are in a home where the other residents have not travelled e.g. your home / flat, student accommodation, minimise close contact with the other residents by avoiding situations where you may have face-to-face contact closer than two metres.”

The NCDC boss noted that other household residents and/or flat mates do not need to self-isolate, provided these precautions were followed.

He advised that self isolated should not share plates, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in the home.

“After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and or place them in the dishwasher for cleaning,” he stressed.

He also advised them to ensure well-ventilated room away from other people such as family members with separate hygiene and toilet facilities.

. If you are working, ensure you work from home during the entire duration 14 days.

. Ensure that you have adequate food, water, hygiene provisions and appropriate medical treatment for any existing medical conditions while in self-isolation.

. Ensure that you have the necessary communication facilities e.g. mobile telephone to communicate with family members and other people while in self-isolation.

. Wash your hands with soap and regularly or use an alcohol-based hand rub and cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing.

. Throw away used tissue into the dustbin and wash your hands immediately with soap and or an alcohol-based hand rub.

. Stay away from pets as there is a chance that humans can pass the disease to them

*Close contact: contact within one metre with a confirmed case.

Ihekweazu also advised that isolated should avoid sharing toothbrushes, utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, clothes or bed linen with anybody in their homes.

He said they should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, bedside tables, bedframes and other bedroom furniture daily with regular household disinfectant or soap.

“Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces at least once a day with regular household disinfectant or soap,” he advised.

He said that if they develop any symptoms of acute respiratory infection, including fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty in breathing, they should please call for immediate help on the NCDC toll free line 0800 9700 0010.

He added that if a person was suspected to have breached the guidelines, NCDC and the state surveillance teams would work closely with the individuals to ensure that they understood their obligations.

He said that they would also be helped to appreciate the importance and seriousness of self-isolation under the current global COVID-19 pandemic threat.

He stated that their emotions and mental health is important “and sometimes, one could feel stressed or lonely when under self-isolation”

.Talk to other members of the family about COVID-19, understanding this disease will reduce anxiety. Reassure your young children, using age-appropriate language.

.Think about how you have coped with other difficult situations in the past and reassure yourself. Keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, emails or social media.

.Stock plenty of materials to keep your mind occupied such as books, movies etc. and ensure you have a television, cable and internet connectivity in your room, “this isoptional”.

. Exercise regularly in your room. Ensure that you drink at least eight glasses of every day to keep hydrated. Eat all your meals in a timely manner. Ensure you take adequate rest,” he outlined.

He noted that after the 14 days of self-isolation without symptoms, the surveillance team would formally discharge the person and they be free to go about his/her usual activities.

“A certificate of completion of self-isolation will be issued to you by the surveillance team.

“But if during the 14-day self-isolation you develop symptoms of COVID-19 such as: Cough, High temperature (fever), Shortness of breath (or difficulty in breathing), Or general feeling of unwellness, avoid self-medication and contact NCDC Connect Centre immediately.

“Contact: NCDC Toll-Free Number: 0800 9700 0010 SMS: 08099555577 WhatsApp: 07087110839 Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov Email: [email protected]