Coronavirus: Benin police enforce mask wearing among residents


Posted By Atoyebi Abiodun on Apr 09 2020


Coronavirus: Benin police enforce mask wearing among residents

Police in the West African nation of Benin on Wednesday stopped pedestrians and confiscated vehicles as the authorities began enforcing the mandatory wearing of facemasks to halt the coronavirus.

Many residents in largest city Cotonou donned surgical masks or homemade face coverings after the government ordered people in key regions to wear them in public.

Police officers at major crossroads in the city pulled over drivers and took away motorbikes if the owners were not using masks.




“We did not wear them before, but now that it is mandatory we are forced to,” motorbike taxi driver Franck Kpotcheme told AFP.

The country of 11 million follows a growing number of nations where it has now become obligatory to wear masks in public.

But few other African nations have yet made wearing masks compulsory as many have struggled to ensure supplies of protective equipment.

The government in Benin has subsidised the cost of masks at the equivalent of around 30 US cents (25 euro cents) but that expenditure remains high for many on a daily basis.

Some residents complained they could not find masks despite pharmacies limiting sales to two per customer in order to conserve stocks.

“They just told me that there aren’t any masks available,” said Edouard Gbeha, as he emerged from a store.

“They say that they are obligatory and we want to buy them but can’t find them.”

The authorities have ordered security forces to step up patrols and detain people without masks, but have not outlined penalties for those failing to comply.

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