Police await mask enforcement details

05 May 2020 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi yesterday said the police are awaiting regulations guiding Stage 2 of the coronavirus state of emergency to determine the consequences for those found in public places without masks

She however added that spot fines will be a last resort and encouraged Namibians to adhere to the guidelines. This follows government's directive last week that all Namibians going out in public must wear masks to curb the spread of the virus.

The technical medical officer for the health ministry's quality assurance division said household items such as scarves or cloths can be used as an alternative.

However, according to Dr Apollo Basenero, only as long as precautionary measures such as proper and regular cleaning with hot water are followed.



Dos and don'ts

Speaking at the Covid-19 Communication Centre in Windhoek yesterday, Dr Basenero said the mask must cover your nose, mouth and chin.

“Whatever material you are using must allow you to breathe through it.

“If a scarf is available, then it can be used. What you are doing is to protect others. If you have a piece of cloth over your mouth, it provides a barrier to the droplets when you speak or cough,” he said.

Basenero added that individuals producing their own masks at home must ensure they have three layers: A layer of cotton on the exterior, a layer of fabric to filter droplets and a third thin layer of cotton. “If it does not allow you to breathe, then it would be a danger to yourself,” he said.

Beware of ill-fitting masks

Dr Mary Brantuo of the World Health Organisation cautioned against using ill-fitting masks which may be too big or too small.

“When you are wearing the mask, do not touch your face with your hands. Discard the mask when it gets wet, because it creates a risk of contracting other infections.

“Wash the mask in warm, soapy water and iron it before you re-use [it].

“And do not wear a single-use mask more than once,” she said.

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