Covid-19 conditionally airborne - NCDC admits
July 14, 2020
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC, disclosed at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday in Abuja, that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already been urged to review its guidelines over the new findings.
Recently, the WHO stated that the virus could be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air, especially in enclosed places with little ventilation.
WHO acknowledged that transmissions via aerosols, or tiny air droplets, could have been behind “outbreaks of COVID-19 reported in some closed settings, such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking, or singing.”
”Besides refraining from having close contact with infected people and frequent hand-washing, the agency says people should “avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.”
Ihekweazu said that the increasing evidences have emerged over the past few weeks that in addition to droplets infection, airborne transmission was also a possible mode of COVID-19 transmission.
“Our understanding of COVID-19 from the very beginning was that it was spread primarily through droplets from the respiratory tracts that and ultimately falls to the ground after few minutes.
“However, as we have studied transmission, studied clusters of these infections we saw increasing evidence of clusters form infections where droplet transmission did not seem to be enough to explain the clusters that we are seeing,” he said.
Ihekweazu explained that diseases that were commonly understood to be spread by airbonone infection were measles and influenza that could be suspended in the air and transmit over long distances.
He said that WHO had updated its guidelines based on the new evidence and Nigeria’s existing guidelines would be reviewed.
“We cannot rule out airbone transmission, and therefore, we have to act in a precautionary way assuming that this is also possible giving the new evidence that is emerging,” he said.