The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said it has detected an increase of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in schools, as well as offices and other closed settings.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the NCDC, said this in an interview on Wednesday while defending the decision of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to shut all schools in the country till 18 January.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, at its press conference on December 21, said all schools in the country would remain shut till January 18.
According to Ihekweazu, the closure of schools is to help curb the spread of the virus, while also reducing the risk of exposure to the virus for students and teachers.
“In the last two months, there has been a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country. This has affected nearly every state in the country. We also detected an increase in the number of cases in closed settings such as schools and offices,” the NCDC Director-General told the Punch.
“The decision to keep schools closed was to among other things, enable us to control this rapid spike in cases while reducing the risk to children and school staff.”
Ihekweazu explained that as part of efforts to battle COVID-19 second wave, the NCDC had deployed more rapid response teams to states.
He advised states wanting to reopen educational institutions to “ensure they have put the appropriate measures in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread in schools. Physical distancing, hand washing and use of face masks are critical measures that have to be adhered to, but also require resources to implement in schools”.