Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in a joint exercise with the Military and Police service yesterday, embarked on strict enforcement of the wearing of nose masks as part of preventive etiquette to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The exercise which began at the Agbogbloshie market saw scores of commuters and visitors being sanctioned by the personnel.
As part of the sanction, they were made to desilt gutters and forced to purchase nose masks.
Some of the offenders stated that they were just closer to their homes and were not expecting to be sanctioned while others indicated that their nose masks were inside their bags and pockets.
“I am a visitor who is only left with my lorry fare but I was forced to buy the nose mask and compelled to sweep the market,” one of the offenders said.
The exercise forms part of government’s commitment in intensifying the mandatory wearing of the masks to ensure the health and safety of residents of the Greater Accra Region.
The enforcement was in line with COVID-19 directives issued by the Ministry of Health in accordance with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s order making wearing of masks in public compulsory days after the lifting of the lockdown.
Relying on Section 169 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851), the Minister responsible for Health by Executive Instrument (E. I.65) declared COVID-19 a public health emergency and under Section 170(1) of the Act ordered a mandatory wearing of face and nose masks in public places as one of the preventive measures against COVID-19.
Since the announcement, majority of Ghanaians have largely complied with the directive, though many others continue to defy the order compelling the authorities to begin an exercise to enforce the charge as the scale of the pandemic grows, across the world.
The Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs), as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) nationwide, began enforcement of mandatory wearing of the masks.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has encouraged the wearing of masks as one of the ways to prevent the spread of the virus given that the disease is spread by droplets or travel through aerosols and contact with contaminated surfaces.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE