By G9ija

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned that mass gatherings can cause the spread of infectious diseases including coronavirus.

The Director General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in a chat with reporters on Monday in Abuja.

Ihekweazu noted that agency is constantly monitoring the epidemiological situation in the country.

He stated that NCDC recommends the cancellation of mass gatherings, in compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

“We are not advising the cancellation of gatherings, but our advice may change as the epidemiological situation evolves. This is assessed on a daily basis and regular updates can be found on http://www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng”, he said.

The official listed gatherings that should be highly monitored.

These include church services, calls to prayer, other prayer meetings, sporting events, weddings, funerals, parties, music concerts, youth service camps, conferences and exhibitions.

The NCDC boss urged the organisers of events to ensure adequate preparations before hosting.

Ihekweazu told them to consider using distancing measures to reduce close contact among people during gatherings.

The he explained included provision of “more entry and exit points, more food points, ensure hand-washing facilities with soap and water are readily available.”

Ihekweazu added that state ministries of health should be informed of such event and location assessed by officials.

The NCDC warning came hours the Nigerian government said it won’t stop the National Sports Festival in Edo State over coronavirus fears.

The event will be held in Benin from March 22 to April 1, 2020.

“Those who are looking in any way suspicious will be disallowed entry straightaway, so that they don’t pose any kind of risk to others until their symptoms are clear”, Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, told the media .

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