A random survey by The ANALYST has found that the public has neglected the use of facemasks and established the need for the residents to prioritize the use of facemasks in public spaces as the go about their routine businesses. The survey has also found that the social distancing protocol is not holding in the public spheres, making it a grave need for members of the public to wear facemask once they leave their residences.
During a week-long survey, our reporters visited Bushrod Island-Duala, Paynesville (Red-Light) Market and Jorpkpen Town (Sinkor) Markets where complete disregard for facemask wearing amongst sellers and buyers was seen in the face of non-adherent to social distancing, as sellers jostle with one another for the attention of prospective buyers.
The survey also sought to know public reactions and perceptions towards to the health protocols amongst commuters in public transport vehicles.
During the random impromptu survey, a high percentage of respondents constituting 85% of 400 people interacted with from the three selected locations and in public transport vehicles including buses and taxi cabs declared their disbelief in the existence of the Corona Virus pandemic in Liberia and therefore feel that wearing facemasks is just for formality.
They said the Liberian situation is contrary to how Corona can treat people in America and other places noting that to the contrary of what is happening in quarantine places in those areas, our government officials who go to 14 Military Hospital can be posing for Facebook photos and throwing peace signs. I think the whole thing is a scam,” declared a non-face mask wearing marketer in Duala who asked to remain anonymous.
Also on public transport buses, only a very few are compliant to wearing the facemasks of amidst denial by majority of the passengers that |COVID-19 is not in Liberia.
Another local respondent during the survey, Mr. Boima Fahnbulleh of Banjor, Lower Virginia D-17 Community disagree with those who are in disbelief that corona is in Liberia.
He said Liberians are the reason while the cases are going up, and pointed out that Liberians must be serious about wearing face masks, saying facemasks made out of ordinary clothing which is the order of the day should be taken advantage of is cheaper to acquire for self-protection.
With the Liberian government has been encouraging facemasks wearing, Mr. Fahnbulleh implores his compatriots to use the facemask, which he said are locally made with L$50.00 a piece, adding that doing so is in the mutual interest of all Liberians and foreign residents, the wearer of the facemask, and as the government as regulator.
“In fact, the wearing of facemasks is one of the strongest regulations regarding the COVID-19 preventative protocols. But it is also the most flouted regulation, as pedestrians and passengers usually go about their normal business without facemasks. Even those who are supposed to enforce the wearing of facemasks are themselves the first lawbreakers,” he observed.
The Elder man said Liberians citizens must be serious about wearing face masks. The Corona Virus is here for everyone, not only government officials. So we have to make sure we wear our facemasks when we go outdoor; and must also keep a safe distance to avoid contracting the virus.”
Our research points to the fact that the wearing of facemask, which is internationally referred to as ‘cloth face covering in public settings’ as key to the COVID-19 fight, along with social distancing and hand-washing in addition to consumption of food types prescribed to build the human immune or defense system against the pandemic.
But Liberians in their majority have not being adherent to the regulations, especially the wearing of face masks and social distancing, despite frantic efforts by the government through health authorities warn against non-compliance to these regulations.
In the wake of the neglecting of facemask wearing in the public space, the government Ministry of Health and the National Public Health |Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) have been persistent in its awareness campaign which made facemask wearing mandatory in keeping with pronouncement contained in the State of Emergency declared by President, Dr, GeorgeMannehWeah.
The rapid increase of the confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Liberia as blamed on the negligence by Liberians to be adherent to the health protocols, especially facemasks wearing in the public results from denial of the existence of COVID-19 in Liberia.
Consequently, the government lately re-enforced its enforcement regimes of health protocols, particularly the facemasks wearing in the wake of the reopening of the nation’s sole international airport, the Roberts international Airport (RIA).
To ensure its seriousness about the curbing the spread of the virus, government announced that it will soon distribute a million facemasks to the public.
Despite all these steps and pronouncements, the government consistently calls on Liberians to remain compliant with health regulations, especially the facemask wearing in public places; but the public continues to be delinquent in adhering to the protocol.
The ANALYST’s survey has found that out of every four Liberians in a taxi cab, only one is seen wearing THE facemask (usually the driver), while the rest are without masks or cloth face coverings.
Meanwhile, international standards in every COVID-19 country provides for facemask wearing as being paramount, since social distancing is not so achievable. The US-based CDC advised that people wear facemasks, which they referred to as cloth face covering, in public settings and when around people, especially who and they do not domicile with live in one’s household.
The CDC explained that widely use wearing the facemasks in public settings is most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19, except for children under the age of two, and for people with trouble of breathing and unconscious people or otherwise people unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Health practitioners see the facemask wearing in public settings useful since it is a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and unto other people when the persons who wearing the facemasks coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice which is otherwise referred to as source control.
In face of the refusal to accept the facemask wearing and other protocols by most people of the public, the government, through the Ministry of Health and the NPHIL reiterates it call on the people of Liberia to take advantage of the health protocols, especially the facemask wearing, to avoid embarrassment and to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the country.