The repeated broadcast of the Message of the President of the Republic that the wearing of facemask in public places will henceforth be mandatory seems unclear to many Cameroonians who go about without covering their nose or mouth despite the heat of the novel corona virus, COVID19 pandemic.
#COVID19 is a contagious viral diseases principally spread through contact with an infected person’s saliva or nasal secretion.
Cameroon has recorded more than 18000 cases since the virus was brought into the country in March 2020. So far, some 1117 active cases are in the country and more than half are asymptomatic. Most of the positive cases are in the active age range of 20 – 45 years.
According Dr Joseph Fokam, Virologist at the Chantal International Reference Centre, asymptomatic cases who show no symptoms of illness can contaminate others because of the high viral load.
The World Health Organization and government of Cameroon have outlined a number of preventive measures including washing of hands regularly with running water and soap or use of alcohol based solution, keeping of social distance at least one meter away from individuals and the wearing of facemask in public places.
The level of implementation of these measures has not reached government’s expectation, as new cases continued to be diagnosed. The Prime Minister – Head of Government during the weekly meetings to monitor government’s response strategy to the pandemic of Thursday, August 13, 2020, reiterated the need to enforce the obligatory wearing of facemask mask in public places.
Mayors were given the responsibilities to enforce the wearing of facemask within their municipalities.
Measures Taken By Mayors
Mayors who have been active stakeholders since the advent of the pandemic have been carrying out sensitization within their municipalities with the distribution of masked and other gadgets. They however, say they are impeded at the level of sanctions by the absence of a legal instrument on the subject.
The Mayor of Yaounde V council says the municipal police has been deployed to the entrance of most public places to oblige users to wear masks else they are not granted access.
In other municipalities, those without mask are obliged to buy one on the spot.
Cameroonians View Of Facemask Policy
In the face of the look warm attitude of some Cameroonians towards the wearing of facemask, Yaoundé inhabitants are of the opinion that government has to enforce discipline for the success of the implementation of facemask policy.
To some, government should introduced sanctions and security services should ensure their implementation so defaulters can be sanctioned consequently causing others to respect the law.
Facemask Policy As Applied ln Other Countries
Over 50 countries around the world have made the wearing of facemasks mandatory.
In China, authorities give public punishments to persons who violate the obligatory facemask policy.
In France those who violate the law pay a fine of 135 Euros and six months imprisonment for anyone who is caught in three different instances not wearing a facemask in one month.
In Morocco, the government has imposed a fine of 140 US dollars or a prison term of six months for violators of the facemask policy.