NCDC Weekly Epidemiological Report: Issue: Volume 11 No. 34: 17th - 23rd August 2020

Situation Report
Originally published
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COVID-19: Preventing Further Transmission through the Use of Face Masks

The ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is primarily spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. As part of the global response to control it, both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions have been instituted by several countries. However, one of the universal strategies being adopted is the use of face masks, this is to limit the transmission of the virus. Given the evidence of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19, the use of face masks by apparently healthy persons especially in public places is highly recommended.

In line with the above, the Federal Government of Nigeria has mandated the mandated the use of face masks in public places. Asides the ongoing community transmission in all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria, this step has become necessary given the gradual re-opening of most facets of our socio-economic activities.

Globally, in some settings, the spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases have been largely attributed to non-compliance with basic preventive measures such as wearing of face masks in public and observance of physical distancing measures. Emerging knowledge has also revealed that the use of face masks in wearing is most effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19 when compliance is high and when used appropriately especially in combination with other preventive measures.

To ensure widespread availability, affordability and compliance, the use of cloth face masks have generally been recommended as an alternative to medical masks. If made, worn, and maintained properly, they are effective and act as an additional protective layer of protection against COVID-19. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has an advisory on the use of cloth face masks to provide guidance to the public on when, how and where to use face masks.

Therefore, to protect yourself and loved ones from COVID-19, face masks should be used in combination with the following protective measures:

  1. Frequent handwashing with soap under running water or use of alcohol-based sanitiser where water is not available

  2. Avoiding large gatherings

  3. Maintaining physical distancing of at least 2 metres between yourself and others

  4. Cleaning or disinfecting frequently touched surfaces

  5. Adhering to other preventive measures as recommended by the Federal Government of Nigeria

We urge the public to continue to take responsibility by actively supporting efforts of the Nigerian Government to halt the spread of COVID-19. The NCDC will continue to provide necessary guidelines, protocols and advisories in line with the global best practices.

Summary of Incidents


  1. Information for this disease was retrieved from the Technical Working Group and Situation Reports

  2. Case Fatality Rate (CFR) for this disease is reported for confirmed cases only

  3. Information for this disease was retrieved from IDSR 002 data

  4. CFR for this disease is reported for total cases i.e. suspected + confirmed

  5. Information for sentinel influenza was retrieved from the laboratory