Since South African president Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak of Covid-19, wearing a mask has become advisable.
Some residents and even health care providers and officers of the law in eMkhondo are however not adhering to this. People have even reported that they have to endure screening from individuals who were not wearing a mask themselves. This is unacceptable! It has also been noticed that some taxi drivers are not enforcing the wearing of masks in their vehicles and a lot of passengers are allowed to enter and ride without a mask. A taxi is a confined space in which it is difficult to apply social distancing and if it is not sanitized properly, it can be a breeding ground for germs.
If one passenger coughs or sneezes, everyone in the taxi is exposed to the germs. According to the regulations, a person must wear a face mask or an item that covers their nose and mouth when they are in public, and no one is allowed to enter a public place if they are not wearing a mask. However, the National Police Spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said that not wearing a mask is “currently not an offence, therefore police cannot arrest an individual for such a failure”.
A business owner can refuse you entry to his/her shop if you are not wearing a mask. Maybe this is the reason why people are not caring about this regulation? Because they know that there are no real consequences if they choose to ignore the rules. Some people believe that wearing a face mask for long periods of time can have negative effects on your body such as headaches and inadequate oxygen supply. Numerous studies have confirmed that this is false and that wearing a mask may be uncomfortable, but not dangerous.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person who is suspected to have Covid-19 or if they have indeed tested positive or if you are coughing or sneezing.
They also advise that masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning and if you know how to put it on and take it off properly. Nonetheless, the South African government deemed it necessary that all citizens wear masks when in public and ALL citizens, even those wearing a uniform, should be honouring the regulation.