Guinean president makes masks compulsory in bid to curb the spread of coronavirus
PRETORIA - Guinean President Alpha Conde has decided to make wearing masks compulsory in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, reported Pakistan Point. The publication said the president was speaking in a televised address on Monday evening.
It was reported that the president said offenders would be “prevented from moving around” and slapped with a fine of 30,000 Guinean francs (R58.02).
The order took effect from Saturday.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) figures on Tuesday, Guinea has recorded 363 confirmed case and there are still no fatalities.It was said that the president expressed concern over the spread of the virus and to the risk that the country’s healthcare system could be overwhelmed.
The president has called on all companies, ministries and non governmental organisations to provide masks to their employees by Saturday. He also urged that masks be manufactured locally and sold cheaply.
Like many African countries, Guinea is a poor country and there are fears that it is ill-equipped to handle a large outbreak of Covid-19.
The country was also badly hit by an Ebola outbreak that claimed some 2,500 lives between 2013 and 2016.
Even though president Conde has made masks compulsory, WHO has indicated that its not necessary for people who don't have the virus to wear masks as masks serves little or no purpose in preventing the virus.
Instead, WHO warned that masks used improperly can be a source of infections.
The agency said that people who are healthy should not wear masks, however, it recommended the use of masks in specific cases.
“If you have a cough, fever and difficulty breathing, you should wear a mask and seek medical care. If you don't have these symptoms, you don't have to wear a mask. Because there is no evidence that they protect people who are not sick,” WHO consultant, infection prevention and control, Christine Francis said.
“However, if you are healthy but you are taking care of a person who may be infected with the new coronavirus, then you should wear a mask whenever you are in the same room with that person.
“And remember if you choose to wear a mask, use it and discard it properly and clean your hands with alcohol, or with soap and running water,” Francis said.