Force drivers and mates to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures

Commercial drivers and their mates constitute a group of people who come into contact with more people because they pick countless number of passengers in a day.

These people could constitute a critical conduit for the spread of contagious diseases.

Therefore, it becomes a worrying issue if such drivers and their mates refuse to obey the protocol or measures meant to contain the spread of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, popularly known as COVID-19.

By this time, one would belabour the point if that person assumes that a section of the public does not know about the existence of the pandemic and its devastation and tries to teach them.

It is in view of this that the Ghanaian Times is worried some commercial vehicle drivers and their mates in Koforidua and parts of the Eastern Region have refused  wearing the nose mask, identified as critical in controlling the spread of the pandemic.

This is because the COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can be spread through droplets of saliva from an infected person and drivers and their mates interact with passengers in a way that makes it possible that they would throw out some droplets of their saliva unto the faces of others.

In that case, even if they do not have COVID-19 but other respiratory diseases, they can spread those ones too.

The infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, Amesh A. Adalja, MD, is on record as saying that face masks can help protect against many respiratory infections that are spread through the droplet route, including the COVID-19 and the flu.

He explains that viruses such as the corona virus can spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing, but when a face mask is worn, one can prevent those droplets from coming into contact with the face or mouth before dropping to the ground.

What Dr Adalja is saying is common knowledge now, so the authorities, including the GPRTU and the police, should not countenance the behaviour of these drivers and their mates.

They should make them accept that even if they think they do not have any infectious diseases, others can infect them with some, particularly in this era of COVID-19, so it is better to protect themselves.

The health authorities even say those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination still have to adhere to the safety measures, including particularly wearing of nose masks, hand hygiene and social distancing, because the vaccination does not give 100 per cent protection.

The Ghanaian Times does not really get it when the drivers and their mates say they find it difficult soliciting passengers while in the nose mask.

Don’t we see driver’s mates just quietly pointing their hands into the sky, with passengers interpreting the signs and gestures and flagging their vehicles to a stop for them to board?

We are in an era of new normal, so the driver should be innovative in their bid to solicit passengers.

The paper, therefore, would like to believe that the promises given by the GPRTU and the police to check the recalcitrant drivers and their mates would be made good.

We appeal that the GPRTU extends the check to passengers while the police cover the whole public.

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