Mandatory Use of Face Masks: No step to implement govt directives

Ahamed Ullah

10th August, 2020 09:52:47 printer

Mandatory Use of Face Masks: No step to implement govt directives

Although the government has made it mandatory for all to wear face masks to prevent further spread of coronavirus, people seem to be very reluctant to use the protective gear.

Instructions have been given to law enforcement agencies to implement the mandatory use of face masks but many law enforcers said they do not know about the instruction.

The instruction remains only on papers as no implementation is seen across the country.

Around 25 to 30 people die of coronavirus in the country every day while 2,500 to 3,000 new cases are detected since the outbreak of the deadly virus.

But many people are walking around in the capital and carrying out their day-to-day activities without using masks, ignoring the government instruction. But they do not realise that such acts increase the risk of coronavirus infection.

Besides, most of the people are becoming indifferent to observance of hygiene rules day by day.

The health ministry on July 21 issued a circular, saying that everyone will have to wear masks. The notice also instructed the law enforcement agencies to implement the instruction.

But law enforcers are not taking any tough measure against those who are not wearing masks.      

In this regard, health experts said there is a need for widespread publicity about the use of masks. If the situation does not improve, the administration should impose jail and fine. Then, people will walk around wearing masks out of fear.

While visiting different areas, including Shahbagh, Green Road, Kathalbagan, Hatirjheel, Gulshan and Badda, in the capital, this correspondent found that most people stuck their masks to the chin.

Someone walks around with a mask below his nose. Some people are seen smoking down the mask. Most rickshaw-pullers and shopping mall vendors are working without masks.

In various shopping malls and markets, the daily sun correspondent saw that the sale goes on without masks and in violation of physical distance rules.

Most of the buyers do not have masks on their faces. While asking about masks, they give the excuse of heat.

Asked why he was not wearing a mask, Nuru, a tea shop owner on the sidewalk in Tejgaon, said it is difficult for him to breathe if he wears a mask for a long time. “So I keep the mask open due to heat,” he added.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Md Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), said, “Most of the people are reluctant to use mask. But wearing a mask is very important for us. If everyone wears a mask, then they can be 99 percent safe.”

“Think, I'm infected with corona but you're not infected. Now if I wear a mask, then you are 70 percent safe. And if I don't wear a mask, but you do, you're 25 percent safe. And if we both wear masks then you are 95-97 percent safe.”

He also said, “For those of us who have to get out in an emergency, in fact, many of us do not know who is affected by corona. So we all have to wear masks. Then we can all be safe.”

“There is no room for negligence about the epidemic. If you do not follow the government instructions, you will have to face jail/fine if necessary. Wearing a mask can prevent corona infection. It is also possible to save others,” he added.

About the mandatory use of masks, Health Services Division Secretary Abdul Mannan told the Daily Sun that a circular has been issued by the ministry making masks compulsory outside home and in office-court to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

“A task force has been formed by the ministry to ensure that people are wearing masks. At the field level, the district administration and the police will play a strict role in this regard.”

He also said, “We are observing the situation through the task force. If we have seen that people are not taking the matter seriously, then we have to think about tough action.”

Since March 8, a total 257,600 people have been infected with coronavirus in the country while the death toll has reached 3,399.