The Federal Government has warned Nigerians against the continued resort to recycling and sharing of face masks in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying such actions would only fuel more infections.
The government equally tasked state governments on the need to align their policies with those at the federal level, reminding them that the virus does not respect boundaries or status.
It also added that the recent rapid diagnostic test kits procured by the Kogi State Government have a high margin of error and are therefore unreliable.
These were disclosed on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in Abuja during the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on Covid-19.
Stop sharing, recycling masks
Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation said except for fabric masks, every disposable mask that has been used once, becomes a hazardous medical waste.
He said; “The PTF has become aware of the on-going practice of sharing masks and picking of masks for recycling from dumpsites.
This places a lot of responsibility on all of us to be self-educated and to educate others.
The following points are emphasized: Except for fabric masks, every disposable used mask is ahazardous medical waste and should be disposed of properly, preferably by burning;
“It is very risky to share masks as the virus is capable of remaining on surfaces for several hours and you could get infected;
“The unhealthy practice of picking up disposed masks for whatever purpose is harmful to both the individual picking it and whoever procures it later.
Particularly, it will be helpful for high-risk people such as the elderly and those with comorbidities, to wear masks or face covering and avoid crowded places.
As we reminded you earlier, please keep grandchildren away from their grandparents to avoid any transmission. Most importantly, emphatically say no to stigmatization.
“The PTF continues to urge State governments to align their actions and enforcement with the guidelines provided. The virus does not respect boundaries neither does it respect status.
All-State Governments are therefore urged to strengthen their monitoring and enforcement machinery in collaboration with the security agencies. Let me emphasize that we have seen visuals on social media depicting total disregard for physical distancing in some locations.
This is a dangerous journey towards uninhibited spread if not checked. The PTF is consulting with the authorities of the identified areas to review their strategies.
“You will recall that the guidelines on the reopening of offices directed the management of such offices to take certain steps and put in place policies that would ensure the safety of their staff.
Let me remind the leadership of various offices to make such provisions including infra-red temperature guns at entrances, sanitizers, handwashing facilities, social distancing arrangements, and ensuring that masks are worn always.
This is particularly critical for government offices in high concentration areas such as the Federal Secretariat complex.
We similarly admonish individual staff to cultivate the habit of personal safety first, before depending on the general provision”, he added.
Osagie Ehanire, the minister of health, said the ministry has been working on accrediting more hospitals in the states for the treatment of Covid-19.
He added that pathologists from states that have recorded some mysterious deaths recently have been sent to Kano to develop a protocol to be able to effectively investigate such deaths in their states.