COVID-19 : Why some Cameroonians do not wear masks

Cameroonians have  desisted  from  compulsorily wearing face masks; an order enforced by the government three months back, to stem the spread of the deadly virus . Many have made wearing masks optional for various reasons.

It is very normal to find people in taxis, public transport buses, restaurants, churches and even in schools without masks.

At the Avenue Kennedy crowded  business centre in Yaounde, many  say wearing a mask in rather uncomfortable.

In markets especially, clients and vendors agree on  business deals without masks, and at very close ranges.

People seem to have outgrown the fear of contracting the deadly virus that has so far killed over 360 people in Cameroon.

A food vendor serves food to a client at an eatery at the Mimboman Motor park. Neither the food vendor , nor client  wears a mask

Those who have masks, pull them down to their chin , hold in their hands or simply keep them in handbags and pockets.

As the days go by, people are beginning to find more reasons why wearing a mask should be rather optional.

The fear of suffocating, breathing difficulties, professional constrains ,  waiting to be served at a restaurant, masks forgotten at home or not fond of wearing mask are some reasons why people do not wear the face masks.

Eight people on a round table discuss over lunch,  all without masks

But there are some people who do not even believe that COVID-19 is real. Isaac Fokum is categorical about not wearing a mask on grounds that the disease is not natural.

” I don’t listen to the white man. The virus is a scam , and they have not told us the truth. Anything that was created, must have a solution. They created it, but claim that there is no cure”.

Others are think practical solutions can resolve the problem . Mr. Jean Marie , a business man based in Yaounde, argues that the reason why people do not wear masks is strongly linked to the slow down of sensitization and follow up.

Mr. Jean Marie , Yaounde based business man 

” Cameroonians are very negligent. Sensitization and follow up has seriously reduced, so people have also become relaxed. If people knew they will be arrested if they do not wear masks, everyone one will do so with relative ease”.

At a time when wearing face masks has become optional, new Infections  are still being recorded. So far, 15, 173 confirmed cases , 11 928 recoveries, and over 360 deaths are on  record in Cameroon.

Health care professionals in Cameroon say COVID-19 is not yet over, so Cameroonians should continue wearing face masks.


Kathy Neba Sina 

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