ABUJA – The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 head by the Secretary to the Government of Federation, Boss Mustapha, has said the use of face masks in public places is now optional, while the decision on the final relaxation of measures will be taken after Easter.
This was revealed by the Head of the Technical Secretariat, who also doubles as the Secretary of the PSC on COVID-19, Dr Muktar Muhammed, in a interview with Punch.
Countries across the world have relaxed many of the COVID-19 restrictions after the administration of vaccines and other precuations.
Recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia scraped all COVID-19 restrictions in the country to allow pilgrims from all over the world, perform Hajj in Mecca for the year 2022. The restriction was scraped to the extent that being vaccinated is no longer a requirement to enter the country.
Countries like the United Kingdom have also scraped the usage of facemask and recently, Ghana announced that the use of face masks was no longer mandatory.
The compulsory usage of facemask in Nigeria is still in place as banks, shopping malls and more requests that citizens will not gain entry until they use a facemask. The usage has however not been scrapped but is now optional according to the announcement from the PSC.
The PSC also announced that it would stop demanding proof of PCR tests from fully vaccinated travellers.
Muhammed stated, “We are easing up restrictions, but it’s important we do so responsibly.
“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.”