Police Must Make All Wear Face Masks Correctly!
Some of the health guidelines laid down to curb the COVID-19 pandemic are seen to be observed in the breach more often than not. It is most common to see face masks being worn incorrectly by some people. The other rule broken at will is social distancing.
It is utterly useless to wear a face mask without covering the nose and the mouth. The sole purpose of wearing it is to prevent the wearer from inhaling the air contaminated with the Coronavirus. The wearing of a face mask also prevents the wearer releasing the virus through his exhalation, in the unfortunate circumstance of his being infected with the virus, to infect others. If the requirement of wearing a face mask covering the nose and the mouth is not met the whole idea of wearing it is defeated.
There are those who wear it covering only the mouth not covering the nose, at the chin or just hang it around their neck. It is shocking to see that such irresponsible elements include those who deal with the public such as bus drivers, bus conductors and criers for the load in buses. What they should really do is not only to wear the face mask properly but also get all the passengers in the bus to wear it strictly following the health guidelines.
Although a fine of Rs 10,000 or a term of imprisonment of six months is imposed by law for the offence of not wearing the face mask or not wearing it as prescribed, irresponsible citizens are seen to be allowed to break the law with impunity. It is not enough for the Police to merely spell out the offence and threaten the people with condign punishment. It is imperative that laws are also enforced and implemented just as much as they are promulgated and imposed.
Society expected the authorities to follow up on this and look for people flouting the rule in public places where people gather such as bus stands, railway stations, markets and hospitals to mention a few of such venues where people congregate to keep the economy going: the workers to go to their work places in time to increase productivity, the consumers to buy their essential food items to keep them and their family members healthy and the sick to get well to perform their tasks for the prosperity of the country. And it is also imperative that the Police check public conveyances such as railway trains and passenger buses to see if all follow the law when wearing face masks.
The flouting of this rule is the height of being callous in being insensitive to the fate of others and to witness which any civic conscious citizen would lose his temper. It should not end only with righteous indignation; far from it. Every citizen must also exercise his social responsibility and advise the rule breakers and ask them to wear the mask properly. It is true that the indigent and the down and out do not have the mental equilibrium to be civic conscious. So, they must be reminded of their failing to wear the mask properly in polite terms, by civic conscious citizens.
Social distancing is the other requirement not met. It has to be observed by the people not only when they are standing in queues to enter public places such as banks, super markets, hospital clinics, Grama Niladhari offices and all other Government offices, to reach railway station booking counters and buses but also when they congregate anywhere and everywhere.
It has been observed that COVID-19 infections have taken place not only when people gather at social events such as weddings, parties and funerals but also when they go on outings. So, while the Police must keep an eye on those flouting the face mask rule they should also prevent people gathering together not keeping the social distance of at least one metre. It is the responsibility of the Government to see that the law is adhered to, to prevent further spread of the dreaded disease.
The significance of wearing face masks is enhanced by Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath saying recently that it is best to wear two face masks for increased protection against the rapid spread of the newly identified COVID strain in Sri Lanka.