Desperate Zimbabweans sharing masks, some buying recycled ones

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By Makanaka Masenyama

SOME hard-pressed residents in Harare have resorted to sharing face masks in desperate attempts to comply with a government directive for citizens to wear the protective clothing as part of measures to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

Following the directive, Zimbabwean supermarkets, transporters and other public places are barring those without masks from accessing their facilities.

In terms of new health regulations, anyone found in public without a face mask faces up to one year imprisonment or a $500 fine.

For fear of falling foul of the law, some locals now share masks in order to access supermarkets.

A Harare resident said government should assist some poor locals with the protective material.

“Some people are sharing face masks to travel to places where they are required to wear them.

“We need free face masks from the government because we are at great risk of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said one Harare resident.

However, some creative locals have turned old clothing into home-made masks.

“I have no money to buy face masks. In fact, I do not even have anything to eat with my children.

“I have cut this T-shirt so that we do not get into trouble with the law when we go out,” said one Debra Moyo, a resident of Mabvuku high density suburb.

Taking advantage of the requirement, some people are now in the business of picking some used face masks from dumpsites and reselling them to desperate and unsuspecting locals at prices they can afford.

Disposable masks are meant to be used once and be discarded.