SA lockdown: Mbalula promises masks for taxi drivers, passengers

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has done an about-turn on the loading capacity of minibus taxis. He initially announced taxis would be allowed to operate at 100% capacity, provided N95 masks were given to all passengers. But Mbalula now says they'll only be allowed to fill 70% of the vehicle. eNCA's Tshegohaco Moagi is at the Bree taxi rank in Johannesburg. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has announced plans to hand out masks to taxi drivers and passengers.

Masks were initially said to be for COVID-19 patients or their caregivers. Now the government is promoting the wearing of masks.

READ: Mbalula urges taxi industry to respect regulations

According to Mbalula, "There are plans to get masks out in the taxis and we're being supported in this regard, masks will be given to taxis and passengers. We want to demonstrate what we mean when we talk about compliance and no compromise."

He visited the Bree taxi rank in the Johannesburg CDB on Thursday.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize clarified confusion relating to the use of face masks saying although the virus is not airborne, masks are essential.

READ: Masks and gloves can spread coronavirus: WC health dept

"There is no question that the use of masks is one of the best ways of preventing the spread of infection. We recommend them particularly where people have any cough or any symptoms or in a situation where social distancing is a bit difficult.

The issue of COVID-19 being an airborne infection is something that came out in the papers but WHO disputed that. As far as we're aware, it's a droplet infection", said Mkhize.

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