Madagascar police on Monday forced citizens, who were caught outside without a face mask, to sweep pavements, law enforcement officials said. According to AFP's report, authorities warned that citizens leaving the house without face masks would face community service.
President Andry Rajoelina made face masks mandatory in the capital Antananarivo, as well as in the cities of Fianarantsoa and Toamasina, to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The new rule, which came into force on Monday, was announced on April 20 alongside the gradual lifting of lockdown measures in the three main cities.
“Seventy percent of people on the street respected the rule... because they are scared of having to sweep pavements,” the head of anti-coronavirus operations, general Elak Olivier Andriakaja, said, adding that measures were to raise awareness and distribute mouth covers.
Around 500 people in Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa were penalised on Monday, said police deputy head Christian Rakotobe.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Antananarivo commissioner Hector Razafindrazaka said that 25 people were sentenced on the spot and forced to sweep the capital's dusty streets. Pictures of offenders sweeping streets went viral on social media.
The Indian Ocean island-nation has detected 128 cases of coronavirus. No fatalities have been recorded so far and 75 patients have recovered.