Is wearing of nose mask abandoned though COVID-19 still exist?

It is very common nowadays to find people in public places not adhering to the COVID-19 protocols despite the number of lives the pandemic has taken.

Especially in commercial vehicles popularly known as ‘Trotro’, many passengers, despite sitting closely to each other do not wear nose mask.

With about 25 passengers in a commercial vehicle, one could only find about two passengers in nose mask. This habit is not encouraging especially when the world is looking forward to the end of the pandemic.

Wearing of nose mask is one of the existing protocols used in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Other protocols include, washing of hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, social distance, covering of mouth during coughing and sneezing.

Almost all the commercial vehicles do not pay attention to wearing of mask by passengers because drivers and conductors of such vehicles are equally guilty.

Drivers of such vehicles seem not to bother about carelessness of passengers when it comes to observing set down protocols aimed at mitigating the spread of the deadly virus.

This attitude undoubtedly contributes largely to the high number of cases being recorded in the capital, Accra.

Also, more worrying is the fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a possible fourth wave of COVID-19 in Africa.

WHO continues to recommend a strong public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and for individuals to continue to protect themselves by getting vaccinated, maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, regular washing of hands and following respiratory hygiene.

According to the Ghana Health Service website, Ghana has so far recorded 130,041 confirmed cases, 1,174 deaths and 1,817 active cases.

In an interview with some passengers, they disclosed that they did not believe in the pandemic, adding that none of their relatives have been affected or killed by the pandemic, therefore they found no need to wear the mask.

Kwaku Mensah, a driver, plying Accra-Nsawam told the Ghanaian Times that, wearing nose mask was uncomfortable, especially under the scorching sun.

“I work throughout the day under this weather so putting on the mask is so uncomfortable, sometimes I get tired of wearing it so now I have stopped wearing it, besides I have been vaccinated so should I continue to wear it” he quizzed.

A passenger on board a loading vehicle, who gave his name as Godfred Ansah, stated that he was asthmatic and wearing the mask for even 20 minutes alone triggered an attack of the pandemic that was why he is afraid of wearing it.

However, he mentioned that he always ensured he used alcohol based hand sanitizers as often as possible.

Mrs Deborah Wiredu, a pupil teacher, was also spotted without a nose mask and she responded in the negative when asked whether she had gotten tired of observing the COVID-19 safety protocols.

She said she could not wear the mask at that moment because she was suffering from headache.

Obviously, everybody has a reason for disregarding the protocols but if this attitude continues, the fight against this pandemic would be more difficult.

Surprisingly many of the people who were spotted by the Ghanaian Times, without any nose mask on, upon interrogation revealed that they were yet to take the vaccine.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has clearly impacted almost every aspect of our lives, causing economies to stall, changing the way we work and interact with our loved ones, and stretching healthcare systems to their limits.

Governments around the world have been forced to implement harsh restrictions on human activity to curb the spread of the virus.

The Director-General, Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye in an interview recently said Ghana had come a long way in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained that since the country recorded its first cases of COVID-19, several efforts had been made to bring the burden of the pandemic to its barest minimum.

He said GHS and health partners were more than ever determined to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact it has had on the lives of people living in Ghana.

According to him, the disease can be curtailed if the public become discipline and adherence to the existing protocols.

“In addition to the preventive measures such as: wearing nose mask in public places, avoiding crowded places, frequently washing of hands with soap under running water and keeping a physical distance of 1-2 meters, vaccination against COVID-19, an important and essential tool in the fight against the pandemic, has been added to the preventive measures,” he said.

He however urged the public “It is time to do your part; by observing the prevention measures and above all, getting vaccinated.

He said GHS has made available vaccines to the public in order to achieve  immunity and subsequently reduce the burden of the disease, adding that  currently, over two million people in Ghana have received at least a dose of COVID -19 vaccine.

“To ensure that our target of vaccinating approximately 20 million people in Ghana is achieved, the Government of Ghana, through the COVAX facility, bilateral and multilateral arrangements have secured some COVID-19 vaccines. To date, the country has distributed over four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all regions,” he said

He urged the public to avail themselves to be vaccinated, and debunk false information that the vaccines could cause health implications in the future, explaining that the vaccines were safe, effective and help prevent severe illness, hospitalisation and death

“The vaccines are safe, free and available, the time to get vaccinated is now because the festive season is here and if we become complacent the active number of cases could be increased so do visit your local health facilities for the vaccines,” he said.

BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG

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