NaCOVERC Appeals for Enhanced Use of Face Masks in Public Places

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Captain Hassan Sei Coomber, the Operations Pillar Lead of NaCOVERC

By Amin Kef Sesay

Captain Hassan Sei Coomber, the Operations Pillar Lead of NaCOVERC, has revealed that during the meeting they held with personnel of the Operational Team over the weekend one of the issues they discussed relates to the effective use of face masks.

Captain Coomber said the feedback they have been getting on the use of face masks prompted them to invite certain security personnel in order to discuss and strategized with them as they have been conducting pilot phases in the exercise.
He furthered how at some stage of the exercise they had some challenges and successes and is based on the feedback they received from third parties, business owners among other stakeholders that necessitated the convening they of the meeting.

Captain Coomber continued to say this time they want to see more enhancement of preventive measures. The problems which some people forwarded, he said, prompted them to strategize in order to continue good engagements instead of confrontation.

“We don’t hope to see the arrest of people but rather to continue to talk to the populace to comply with the enhanced measures,” he maintained

He added that they want to see people willingly complying instead of fining them or taking them to court.

He also disclosed that for them to have a friendly environment they have adopted the media in their operation and for the process to be implemented in a very cordial atmosphere.

Captain Coomber went further to say enforcing the face mask use is always going to be a challenge which is why President Bio pronounced  in June for NaCOVERC to come out with enhanced measures which they did through the Laws Officer Department because people are still in denial and he (President Bio) knows there will be challenges.

Captain Coomber made reference to the increase of COVID-19 cases in India which has become the second largest hit country in the world by the virus.

He revealed that there are penalties for those that are defaulting to wear face masks mentioning fines for individuals and business houses.

The Lead said a fine of Le 100,000 will be imposed on individuals that enter a shop without wearing face masks saying business owners have the responsibility to make sure their workers and buyers wear masks and if they fail the owners will be fine Le 500,000.  He said for pedestrians in crowded public places without wearing face masks will be fined Le 20,000 per person.

Captain Coomber however hasten to highlight that no money transfer will take place between the task force team and defaulters but the individual will have to go to the Bank where the fine Account Number will be given to him/her and payment made. He/she will then bring the receipt indicating that he/she has paid.

“If you are asked to give money on the spot, please don’t and if it is possible report that individual.”
During the meeting the personnel explained the challenges they are facing and one thing that came out clearly was orders from above. That, Captain Coomber, said Senior Management has looked into stating that it must not be that way in the fight against the virus.

He admonished the personnel to name any individual be it a Minister or a Member of Parliament to call the Coordinator or himself.

He stressed that the operation will continue for as long as possible as they want to make sure that Covid-19 is flatten.

“We go to zero when once we are comfortable that the transmission rate is lower and people are complying then there will be no need for enhancements. Most people in Asian countries are using their face masks in public places which  is why their infection rate is very low,” he stated.

On the side of using the face mask in public places such as markets and religious gathering, Captain Coomber said they are dissatisfied with the compliance rate but said they will engage the Freetown City Council (FCC) which, according to him, has a very good system for communicating with and also the municipal residents, inter-religious leaders for burial and religious gatherings.

Captain Coomber ended by calling on all to comply with the regulations.

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