NCDC releases new guidelines for Nigerians, companies

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has listed additional coronavirus preventive measures for citizens and businesses.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, told NAN on Tuesday that the new directives followed evolving knowledge of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

He said there must be mandatory use of a non-medical face mask/covering for all persons and overnight curfew from 8p.m. to 6a.m.

Also mandatory are the provision of handwashing facilities/sanitisers, single use latex gloves are discouraged, except in clinical settings.

“Restrictions on inter-state travel except for essential services or transportation. Physical distancing of two metres between people in workplaces and other public places; no large gatherings of more than 20 people outside the workplace,” he said.

Companies are expected to provide handwashing facilities/alcohol-based sanitizers; promote thorough and frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Ihekweazu stated that they are expected to enforce the use of face mask/covering for all staff at all times.

Where staff members have regular face-to-face contact with customers, they must ensure they have the necessary protective equipment to keep them safe and their health protected.

Ihekweazu urged businesses to: “Develop an infectious disease preparedness action plan to reduce the risk of exposure in the workplace and communicate it to all staff members. This includes identifying a central person focused on coordinating COVID-19 matters.

“Ensure the contact details and emergency contact details of all staff members are kept up to date and are always easily accessible. Ensure that staff members know how to spot the symptoms of coronavirus and they have a clear understanding what to do if they feel unwell, mandating unwell employees to stay at home.

“Display signage in your office or business premises reminding staff and visitors to maintain good and respiratory hygiene. Discourage the sharing of work equipment, tools, computers, phones and desks.”

Companies were told to encourage work from home policy, virtual meetings, limit customers in the business premises to about 30 per cent – 50 per cent capacity at any one time, decide on the level of staff required to come to work, as the business re-opens, e.g. support staff, receptionists, catering staff.

“Consider the staggered re-introduction of staff members into the office, using staff rotas and flexible work hours or work shifts. Where possible, businesses should provide transportation for their employees to limit their use of public transport.

“Limit the number of visitors to your office premises and take advantage of enterprise video conferencing tools. Put into place flexible workplace policies to respond to staff absenteeism, with an efficient process to ensure the smooth handover of work from one staff member to the other when required,” he stated.

“If any employee is showing known symptoms of COVID-19, they should immediately self-isolate in a separate room in the office or business premises and call the state helpline or contact NCDC on 0800 9700 0010 for further guidance. While awaiting laboratory test results,” he said.

Ihekweazu advised that if there is any suspected case of COVID-19 in any work place, employers should make sure that staff self-isolate and carry out a risk assessment to ascertain whether there is a need to close the office or business premises.

He added that employees who were living in a household with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should also be asked to self-isolate for 14 days until all members in the household receive a negative test confirmation.

The DG said that If they developed known COVID-19 symptoms during the self-isolation period, they should contact their state helpline or NCDC on 0800 9700 0010.

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