Compulsory wearing of face masks in public spaces in Cameroon begins this April, Monday 13th, 2020 as instructed by the Head of State.
The decision is one of the additional seven measures implemented by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya to fight the killer virus, COVID-19.
The first of the seven measures specifically stipulates the wearing of facial masks;
“The general wearing of masks, From Monday 13 April 2020, in all spaces open to the public. The Minister of Industries and Mines has been instructed to publish the technical standards and specifications for the mass production of these masks locally”.
Accordingly, the production of masks and other related tools to facilitate the fight against the coronavirus will be supervised by the Minster of Scientific Research in collaboration with her colleague of Public Health.
As clearly stated by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute, and as instructed by the Head of State, defaulters will be sanctioned.
The decision is just one of the many strategies put in place by the government of Cameroon since the first positive case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Cameroon, on March 7th, 2020.
COVID-19: Wearing Of Face Masks; WHO Weighs-in
The use of face masks on healthy people during the coronavirus pandemic has been a major point of contention and confusion among scientists and the general public.
Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, recommended that all Americans wear face masks when they are in public.
The World Health Organization, WHO, says that there is no need for healthy people to wear face masks, some days after the CDC asked Americans to wear face masks in public spaces.
On April 6, the World Health Organization released new health guidance stating that masks should be for the sick, their caretakers, and healthcare workers.
“There is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.” WHO.
To the WHO, community masking could lead to a “false sense of security” and cause people to ignore other evidence-based measures like handwashing and self-isolation.
People with COVID-19 symptoms like a cough or shortness of breath should wear masks even if they haven’t tested positive, and they should self-isolate, seek medical advice from home, and practice good hygiene, including handwashing and changing their masks, WHO said.
Masks could also slow transmission, but there’s room for infection-causing human error.
Some health experts believe community masking efforts can’t hurt.
“The argument … about everybody wearing a mask is not that it will prevent everyone from getting infected — it’s that it will slow down transmission in the community a bit,” Ben Cowling, a professor of epidemiology and a mask researcher at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.
WHO officials said healthy people who wear masks might touch their own faces more often than necessary, which could increase their risk for COVID-19.
As such, WHO said, practicing self-isolation, good hygiene, and social distancing are the best ways for healthy people to stay safe.
Reacting to the decree by the government on obligatory face masking, health workers in Cameroon think citizens should wear face mask while stepping out to crowded places.
Many of them say, the face mask is advantageous for good filtering but due to insufficiency people could wear the tissue mask with a double cotton pad.
As a caution, the users should sanitize their hands before putting on the masks, and one should not touch the face without a mask
COVID-19: Wearing Of Face Masks; A Norm In Asia
While the wearing of face masks has become the norm in places in Asia the masks frequency has hit no where hard as in Hong Kong.
At the height of the pandemic in the continent, residents lined up overnight outside drug stores to grab face masks at all cost.
While countries like South Korea, Japan and Singapore have distributed face masks to her populations, Taiwan and Thailand have banned the exportation to meet up with the soaring local demand.
A school of thought puts It that Asian countries most especially Japan has a large population of people with a culture of wearing masks and moving along the streets, thus making the general face masking easily adaptable.
This culture is noticeable becoming a norm in East Africa since the year 2000.
Noteworthy is the fact that, recently the Czech Republic and Slovakia even made them mandatory.