The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Saturday cautioned Nigerians on the use of face shields in place of face masks to prevent COVID-19.
The agency said in an advisory that its position followed the discovery that more people were erroneously using face shields instead of face masks to avoid contracting the virus.
It said: “An increasing number of people in Nigeria are now using face shields, in the place of face masks, as they become more widely available.
“The use of face masks for COVID-19 prevention is important, as recent studies indicate that a significant proportion of people who have COVID-19 do not show symptoms (asymptomatic), and the virus can spread before these people know that they are sick.
“SARS-CoV-2 which causes the coronavirus disease, can spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, often through speaking, coughing or sneezing. There is evidence that the correct use of face masks reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection.
“Following evolving evidence on the transmission of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) provided recommendations for the wearing of face masks by the general public.
“This is especially important where there is ongoing widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as in public transport, markets, and confined or crowded environments. In Nigeria, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 mandated the use of face masks or coverings in public spaces, on the 27th of April 2020.
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) published advisories on the use of face masks and guidance on making cloth masks.
“An increasing number of people in Nigeria are now using face shields, in the place of face masks, as they become more widely available.
“Face shields are generally used in health care settings by medical professionals to provide barrier protection to the facial area, including the eyes, nose, and lips. Even in healthcare settings, face shields are not meant to function as primary respiratory protection to prevent infection. Face shields are used in combination with the surgical mask or N95 mask by health workers for maximum protection.”