No evidence face shield alone can provide primary protection’ – NCDC

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says there is no evidence that face shields alone can provide primary respiratory protection against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made the remark in an interview on Wednesday, June 24, in Abuja; while reacting to the increasing use of face shields by members of the public.

He said, “there is strong evidence that wearing a face mask protects both healthcare workers and the public against COVID-19 infection and should continue to be used.”

Prior to this, the Federal Government on April 27, 2020, through Mr Boss Mustapha; the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, announced the compulsory use of face mask or covering in public spaces.

Since then, Nigerians adopted the use of face masks in public settings and some have now started wearing face shields.

However, the NCDC boss said “there is evidence that a face shield might reduce exposure in healthcare workers but they are not meant to function alone as primary respiratory protection.

“In addition, there is limited to no evidence on the effectiveness of face shields for community use by members of the public.

“Face shields are most important in healthcare settings to protect healthcare workers during processes such as intubation, the process of inserting a tube; called an Endotracheal Tube (ET), through the mouth and then into the airway.

“We do not have evidence that using face shields outside healthcare settings can protect members of the community.

“Therefore, this is a practice that should not be promoted; until we have sufficient evidence that they offer protection when used by members of the public,” he explained.

This led to the recommendation to the general public to wear cloth masks in public.

The Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, had urged Nigerian tailors to start mass-producing face masks using the country’s local fabrics.

He said it was time for Nigerian tailors to start producing locally-made face masks with “our fabric”, adding that with such move, the risk of infecting others would be reduced.

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