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NCDC: Using face shields alone not enough to prevent COVID-19 spread

NCDC: Using face shields alone not enough to prevent COVID-19 spread
June 27
20:19 2020

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says there is no evidence that the use of face shields as a replacement for face masks are effective.

In an advisory on Saturday, the NCDC said face shields should be used in combination with face masks to effectively prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection.

“An increasing number of people in Nigeria are now using face shields, in the place of face masks, as they become more widely available,” it said.

“Face shields are generally used in health care settings by medical professionals to provide barrier protection to the facial area, including the eyes, nose and lips.

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“Even in healthcare settings, face shields are not meant to function as primary respiratory protection to prevent infection.

“Face shields are used in combination with a surgical mask or N95 mask by health workers for maximum protection during invasive procedures such as intubation.”

The presidential task force on COVID-19, on April 27, mandated the use of face masks or coverings in public spaces to prevent the spread of the virus.

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According to the agency, a significant proportion of people who have been infected with the virus do not show symptoms and the virus can spread “before these people know that they are sick”.

“The use of face masks for COVID-19 prevention is important. SARS-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease, can spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, often through speaking, coughing or sneezing.

“There is evidence that the correct use of face masks reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection.

“There is currently limited to no evidence on the effectiveness of face shields to prevent COVID-19 when used alone by the general public in non-healthcare settings.

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“There is currently no guidance provided by the WHO or other relevant public health authority that recommends the use of face shields in non-healthcare settings to prevent COVID-19.”

The NCDC reiterated that no single intervention “even when properly used” provides complete protection from COVID-19 infection.

Thus, it advised that the use of face masks with face shields should be combined with other measures like frequent handwashing and the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoiding public gatherings.

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