Children under five don’t have to wear facemasks – FG

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It is not compulsory for children under age five to wear face masks because the COVID-19 fatality rate among them is less than 0.3 percent, the Federal Government has explained.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire however said since such children are not expected to be in school, they can do without wearing masks because it may cause them some discomfort.

Speaking during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, Ehanire said: “Generally for children under the age of five, when the children are in the public, like on a plane, some parents give their children masks to wear.

‘’But there is no prescription because there is no organised activity for children under the age of five outside the homes. So we didn’t prioritise that one.

“Some have recommended that there is a need for children under the age of five to wear a mask because the risk of falling ill is very low and also probably because they may not be accustomed to it and may reject, fight and struggle with it.

‘’But I have seen situations where children younger than five of five tolerated masks, but all of it were informal because it is not captured in recommendations that we make.”

Representing the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Head of Disease Surveillance for the agency, Elsie Ilori, said: “States are agitating that they want to open schools, but we have continued to educate the public on measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and we will continue to review the situation in other countries that have re-opened schools, with guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health authorities.

“If each school carefully coordinates, plans, and put the required safety measures in place before reopening, there will be lesser risk of COVID-19 infection in the school set-up.’’

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