There seems no end yet for temperature checks and use of face masks as experts, yesterday, expressed diverse positions on when Nigerians should do away with the shield and the checks.
These, among other measures, were introduced to prevent citizens from contracting or spreading the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. But it is noticeable across the country that many citizens have abandoned the use of masks and doing temperature checks.
While the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says Nigerians should continue with face masks until an effective vaccine is found, some medical experts say there is no conclusion yet on the matter because the biology and epidemiology of COVID-19 are not well understood at the moment.
A virologist and Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, told The Guardian that the measures should not be ended “until a country is declared free of the disease, like polio-free status, or maybe no case reported for a period of time, like two times the maximum incubation period in the face of reliable surveillance, adequate laboratory testing, and efficient contact tracing.”
He wondered when the time would come.
Similarly, the President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Prof. Innocent Ujah, painted a picture of a long time waiting for the end of the virus. He said, “It is too early to know when to stop wearing face masks or stop temperature checks. Nobody at the moment could be very categorical about the two issues raised. The biology and epidemiology of COVID-19 is not well understood at the moment.”
While the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Prof. Bode Chris, told The Guardian the virus could only be said to have ended “when COVID-19 is officially declared over by the government, based on scientific evidence of such,” the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, said the end would not be certified “until we are sure the epidemic curve has flattened and cases have gone down to single-digit per day.”
A vaccinologist, former researcher at the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and founder/CEO of Innovative Biotech, Keffi, Nasarawa State, Dr. Simon Agwale, told The Guardian: “I think we can only stop wearing masks or using temperature checks when we find an effective vaccine. Without this, it will be risky to stop wearing masks.”