Government has enforced the mandatory use of face masks for anyone visiting its offices in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in its establishments.
A statement issued Thursday and signed by Chief Secretary to the Government Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi directs that everyone defying the directive will not be assisted.
The statement adds that the masks should cover the nose and mouth completely and should not be lowered when speaking, coughing or sneezing.
Commenting on the directive, Director of Quality Management and Digital Health Andrew Likaka said every client is supposed to wear a mask with immediate effect and that failure to do so will result into the client not being be assisted.
“We all know the virus is spreading fast. So we thought it wise that all people using government and public offices must wear their face masks whether a cloth mask or those from the shops but everyone working or visiting the offices must put on a mask.
“For starters, we want government and public officers to adhere to the call but this will be a countrywide thing. In few weeks to come all government hospitals will have cloth mask that will be given to clients to prevent the transmission of the disease between doctors and patients,” Likaka said.
Executive Director of the Malawi Health Equity Network George Jobe said what government has done is a welcomed development and proposed that the directive should proceed to the private sector.
Jobe said government should also consider extending this service to markets where a lot of people go to buy and sell their merchandise and risk being exposed to the virus.
“This is a good initiative and it has been long overdue. Now that government has started with face mask mandatory wearing, let this be a nationwide thing. Everyone should be reminded that Covid-19 is real and that prevention is the best way,” Jobe said.
The first case of the pandemic, which started in Wuhan, China, was reported in Malawi in March this year. Now nearly 2,000 people have been infected, with 29 deaths.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
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