I went to Madina today on a business errand and what I witnessed made me regret going to town. The attitude of some Ghanaians makes you wonder if they really know the severity or seriousness of the coronavirus which has claimed the lives of over 208,000 people and infected more than 3million people worldwide. Or some still have the mindset that the virus does not really affect black people like it does white people?
The Ghana Health service in a statement over the weekend directed the compulsory wearing of face mask in public in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease in Ghana. And while many are responding to the directive, majority of people, especially the market women or those who sell in the various markets seem to be “immune” to the virus and thus do not bother to put on a face mask, and those with the face masks too have drawn it down to their chin so they can feel comfortable when talking or breathing. People are just going about their businesses like there is nothing at stake. The least said about food vendors who sell in the open, the better.
The bigger problem with the face masks though is the manner in which they are produced and sold to the general public. The making of the masks is not regulated or standardized. What kind of material should be used to make the mask, does it have any chemicals in it that is not good to breathe in? Do those who make them try them on after making them? Do the masks really serve its purpose to protect against the virus, or are some vital parts of the face exposed in a bid to make the masks more fashionable?What of those who sell them, do they allow buyers to try multiple masks on before making a choice? Are the masks hygienic and safe for use?
Also, trotro(bus) drivers are not really adhering to social distancing in their buses. The usual seating arrangement in buses have been reduced by just one person on each row, that is, if a row used to accommodate four(4) people, now it accommodates 3 people. It must be noted that passengers in such buses usually sit very tight or close to each other because the seats are not spacious, so reducing the seating arrangement by one person doesn’t really create enough room to meet the social distancing requirement. It’s true that these drivers have families to feed and sales to make to car owners, but these are not normal times, and making half of what you use to make is better than risking your life and that of passengers to make more money.
Those who queue to buy things do not observe or maintain any distance from each other, and those who endeavor to observe a distance are usually skipped over as those who are closer are served. If one person has it in the queue, imagine the number of people who would take it home to infect their families too.
Dear Ghanaian, coronavirus is very real, and is no respecter of race (black or white), wealth (rich or poor), or gender (male or female), anyone can contract the virus, so let us all endeavor to follow or practise all the safety protocols so we can help stop the spread.
The government should also put measures in place to regulate the making and sale of face masks, as well as enforce social distancing vigorously.