Amongst some of the measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 was shutting down schools all over the national territory. This was for pupils and students to stay at home to avert the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
It is a call for concern that, in Buea Southwest region of Cameroon, instead of children staying at home to avert the spread of COVID-19, they are increasingly seen in local markets hawking with their parents. They are often seen carrying different items, ranging from foodstuffs and fruits to underwear. Some of them act like transporters carrying items in wheelbarrows for buyers in and out of the markets.
Hawking by Children in markets can put them on a high risk of getting infected, and they stand less chances of surviving since their immune systems are not strong enough to easily combat the virus like that of adults. Moreso most of them do not wear safety masks and do not respect the hygiene rule of constantly washing hands in a day.
As a result of this, the Mayor of Buea, David Mafani Namange took to the local markets chasing out pupils. He told parents that schools were closed for pupils to stay at home, to avert the spread of Coronavirus not for them to be playing around and hawking in the markets. He added that any child seen hawking in any local market will be arrested together with their parents and their goods seized.
It is worth noting that some inhabitants of Buea allow their children to hawk in markets because they believe that COVID-19 in Cameroon is just a plot by the government to get money from International donors. Some are of the belief that the disease does not kill blacks so they are free from the virus. All these are misconceptions by the local traders about COVID-19. As a result, the Buea Council headed by Public Relations Officer, Musonge Oscar, has launched many campaigns to sensitize traders in markets on the reality of the deadly virus. He pleads with the population to respect the measures put in place by the government to avoid the spread of COVID-19. To buttress these measures by the mayor, the governor of the Southwest Region Bernard Okalia Bilai has put in place additional stringent measures to fight against COVID-19 in the region