Make wearing of nose mask mandatory

Following the emergence of COVID-19 in late 2019, medical scientists prescribed measures to contain its spread.

Initially, they were mainly washing and sanitising the hands; personal hygiene in general; avoiding handshake; social distancing; and wearing of nose masks, as well as closure of borders and lockdowns.

Social distancing, for instance, called for bans on public gatherings, church services, and operation of entertainment centres, including disallowing spectators to go to stadiums to watch football.

 It must be noted that that the lockdowns were and are still emergency measures and so they were quickly eased as soon as practicable.

Later on, vaccination was introduced as the most effective measure but on the condition that countries would achieve herd immunity.

With the introduction of the vaccination, some of the restrictions were eased.

Even when the measure were strictly enforced, some Ghanaians fought their compliance.

Then on March 28, this year, in a nationwide broadcast, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that the government had eased the restrictions introduced at the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

He said consequently, the wearing of face masks was no longer mandatory and that religious, sporting and other activities such as conferences, parties, cinemas, and funerals could take place in full capacity, and borders opened. 

President Akufo-Addo explained that the review was based on the low coronavirus infection rates being recorded in the country due to rapidly declining infections, the relative success of the vaccination campaign being supervised by the Ghana Health Service, and the increased capacity developed in the public and private health sectors over the last two years. 

 President Akufo-Addo however stressed the need for regular hand washing and hand sanitising and vaccination.

The Ghanaian Times has no qualms about the easing of COVID-19 restrictions but thinks that if the protocols should be eased at all, wearing of nose masks should not have been part of them.

This paper’s conviction is based first on the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are part of the U.S. Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), has recorded that there are three major tools to fight COVID-19 and these are testing, nose masks and vaccination. 

In this country, most people are not testing for COVID-19, neither are they going for the vaccination.

As of April 14, that is five days ago, only about 14 million doses of vaccines had been given and less than six million Ghanaians had fully been vaccinated.

This means, calculated against the country’s population of 30.8 million, herd immunity is a far cry from what should have been the case now.

Second, medical scientists say like other viruses, the virus that causes COVID-19 is constantly changing and can result in the emergence of variants that may have new characteristics with all the risks.

Wearing of nose mask, therefore, becomes one sure way to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, looking at the attitude of the people.

Third, in its subtle reaction to the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, the Ghana Medical Association welcomed the move but cautioned that unvaccinated persons still posed a risk and that although the wearing of face masks was no longer mandatory, it was still recommended, especially among people suffering respiratory tract infections and co-morbidity conditions and COVID-19 is respiratory.

The importance of the nose mask cannot be ruled out at this time when vaccination is not encouraging.

The mask can block droplets from infected people’s coughs, sneezes or talking.

Once people are not testing, individuals may not know they have the disease, so the mask will help to protect others.

The masks also created jobs, which is a way to reduce joblessness and thus help the economic growth, however little.

The wearing of nose mask, therefore, should be reinstated and made mandatory.

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