The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said on Monday new evidence had suggested that COVID-19 maybe transmitted through the air.

He said the general opinion before now was that the virus could only be transmitted through droplets from the nose and mouth.

According to the NCDC chief, the wearing of face masks and the need to maintain social distancing had become imperative based on the new revelation.

Ihekweazu, who stated this during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, however, added that studies of new infections showed that the disease may also be airborne.

He said: “Understanding the modes of transmission of any new virus is very critical for defining response strategies. For COVID-19 from the very beginning, our understanding based on other coronaviruses was that it could spread primarily through droplets.

“Droplets are excretions from the respiratory tracts that can’t stay on in the air. They ultimately fall to the ground after a few minutes. However, as we have studied transmission, studied clusters of these infections, we saw increasing evidence from clusters of infections. Clusters transmissions did not seem to be enough to explain the clusters that we are seeing.

“Diseases that are commonly spread by what we call airborne infection are things like measles and influenza that can be suspended in the air and transmit over longer distances.

“Over the past few weeks, increasing evidence has emerged that in addition to droplet infections, we cannot rule out that airborne transmission is also possible as a mode of transmission of COVID-19.”


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