As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Malawi, the country has commenced a mandatory use of face masks in all government institutions.
According to a recent press release by the Malawi government, all clients to the government have been asked to wear masks covering mouth and nose completely whilst avoiding lowering it down when speaking, coughing and sneezing. Sanitization and washing hands are also obligatory.
On Monday morning, people in various government institutions were seen wearing all kinds of customised masks, including surgical masks and cloth masks.
Chrissy Banda, Health Promotion Officer at the Blantyre Health Office (DHO) has welcomed the idea, saying this will aid the reduction of cases countywide.
Looking at the current global trend, countries like China are now effectively containing the pandemic due to the same practice, said Banda, adding that there is a need to maximise civic education on the proper use of the masks.
“With the growing number of people using cloth masks, people need to be taught the etiquette of using and cleaning masks as recommended by the World Health Organisation because masks are very important in COVID-19 prevention as long as they are used in a proper manner,” she said.
On a broader view, players in the private sector have also embarked into the exercise. In Blantyre, for example, shop owners are not allowing customers to enter into their shops without wearing the mask on the face.
Evans Makawa was surprised on Monday when a security officer denied him entering into an electronic shop at Chichiri shopping mall because he had no mask. This is one of many customers who have witnessed the new measure in practice.
“It’s very encouraging to notice that many people are complying to this new measure. I am sure this will be maintained in the next coming days,” said Peter Mwale, owner of a flower shop in Blantyre city.
Meanwhile, the government has suspended some of its mass meetings and several commerce centers in Blantyre have closed due to the rise of COVID-19 cases. For the past weeks, Malawi has seen a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.