Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the Coronavirus Disease Protection Act 2021, which, among other things, mandates the use of face masks in public places to curb the further spread of COVID-19.

Boss Mustapha, chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, made the announcement to reporters on Wednesday.

He said the President issued the document in the exercise of the powers vested in him by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.

Part 1 of the ordinance, which deals with restrictions on gatherings, stipulates that a physical distance of at least two meters must be maintained between persons at all gatherings.

He added: “No gathering of more than 50 persons shall be held in an enclosed space except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 percent of the capacity of the space.

“All persons in public assemblies, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall comply with the provisions of Part 2 of these regulations.

“The provisions of these regulations may be varied by guidelines and protocols issued from time to time by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”

In the same vein, Part 2 of the regulation states that no person shall be on the premises of any market, shopping mall, supermarket, store, restaurant, hotel, event centre, garden, amusement park, recreation centre, auto park, fitness centre or any other similar facility.

She, however, explained that an exception exists if the person “wears a face covering that covers the nose and mouth, he washes his hands or cleans his hands with a hand sanitiser approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and his body temperature has been checked.

Any person found to have a body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius will be denied entry and advised to seek immediate medical attention.”