Prime Minister Gaston Browne has denounced the irresponsible manner in which some persons are wearing face masks under their chin. It is mandatory for persons in Antigua and Barbuda to wear a mask once in public, however, Prime Minister Browne says people are wearing their masks incorrectly while in very close proximity with each other. Browne said he witnessed this first hand while visiting town on the weekend.
The prime minister has advised against masks being worn under the chin, exposing the nose and mouth, as this practice increases the risk of contracting the potentially deadly coronavirus. This risk dramatically increases in situations where people who are not of the same household are engaging.
According to the prime minister, even related persons who do not reside under the same roof should take precautions to protect themselves and others as they may have unknowingly come into contact with a person infected with the virus. He urged the public to be more responsible since the social and economic effects of the coronavirus are far-reaching. “[On Saturday] I was in town and I saw a few people communicating with
each other. I have reasons to believe that they are not relatives and whereas they had the mask on, the mask was literally under their chin. “They were within six feet of each other and they were speaking to each other. Now, you know I find that to be a form of negligence that we have to sensitise the people of the need to utilize these masks properly,” Browne said. The prime minister continued while persons may be observing the six feet distancing requirement, a mask should still always be worn to protect both parties. He also called for heightened vigilance to ensure that the country does not inadvertently advance the disease to the community spread phase of transmission.
According to Browne, the government has been working tirelessly to prevent the virus from spreading among the population to a point where contract tracing becomes difficult. As a result he is urging persons to remain vigilant and take personal responsibility in ensuring that further socio-economic fallout from COVID-19 can be avoided by preventing community spread of the disease.