Zimbabweans should abide by the conditions that the Government set when it lifted the mandatory wearing of face masks for their own safety, and not out of fear of being arrested, the police said yesterday.
The Government last week waived the mandatory wearing of face masks in public for those who have received the three World Health Organisation recommended vaccines.
But they should still wear them in closed spaces and also carry their vaccination cards all the time for proof.
Following the announcement, most people have stopped wearing face masks including in public transport, despite statistics indicating a low vaccination uptake since the government started rolling out the programme two years ago.
The police have not been visible in enforcing the rule, despite most people being known to have received only two jabs, as statistics of those who got the third jab are disappointingly low.
Many Zimbabweans were reluctant to get vaccinated due to myths that were associated with the medicines. The high number of deaths during the first days spurred people to get jabbed, but as cases declined, the uptake also went down.
Also the myth that the corona virus thrives under cold conditions has led many to believe that the approaching summer will take away the danger completely and as a result, the country risks experiencing a wave of new infections and deaths as citizens mistake the lull in cases since the winter season ended as sign that the disease has gone.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told New Ziana that enforcement of the rules that the Government set remained one of the top priorities for the law enforcement agents.
“The Government has made it clear that the wearing of masks is still valid and only those who have taken three jabs cannot wear the face masks in certain places.
“For example, indoors they have to wear masks,” he said.
“The public should not wait to be arrested by the police. They must wear masks for their own safety.”
A survey in the capital showed that since the announcement, many people were moving around without face masks while the few who had them, were wearing them below the chins in readiness to pull them up when they saw the police.
The situation was worse in high density areas, where very few were still bothering to wear the protective face coverings, while all shops also no longer required customers to put them on.
Levels of consciousness about personal health are also showing among the citizens, as those who care about their safety are wearing the protective face cloths in public transport while the majority are not bothering to do so.
The categories still donning face masks include mostly the elderly and middle aged women, while the majority of young people have thrown caution to the wind.
As of last Friday, the country had recorded 16 Covid-19 related deaths this month alone, after a lull in both infections and deaths since the beginning of the year.
– New Ziana.