Zambia, in collaboration with the United Nations (UN), on Saturday launched an initiative aimed at encouraging the wearing of face masks in public as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative, dubbed “Mask Up Zambia”, comes in the wake of the poor adherence to preventive guidelines including wearing of face masks.
Minister of Health Jonas Chanda has since urged citizens to share photos where they are wearing face masks on various social media platforms in order to encourage others.
He further said the ministry will recommend to the cabinet for mandatory wearing of face masks in public in order to avert a possible third wave of the pandemic.
According to him, the number of COVID-19 cases seen in health facilities was a reflection of continued community transmission due to poor adherence to preventive guidelines.
“People transit daily in crowded buses on local and long-distance routes, with hardly a face mask in sight. We have observed school children taking off their masks as soon as they leave the school grounds, and adult shoppers as soon as they leave the mall or markets,” he said in a release on the COVID-19 update.
According to him, the consistent and correct wearing of face masks could cut transmission by as much as 80 percent.
Meanwhile, the country recorded 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The cumulative cases now stand at 61,427. The country also recorded 11 new deaths during the period, bringing the total deaths to 839 while 1,365 patients were discharged, bringing the total recoveries to 53,410.