THE Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) is urging bus and taxi drivers to wear facemasks while transporting passengers, but the association’s leadership appears to be adopting an agnostic position where the vaccine is convened.
NABTA’s secretary general Pendapala Nakathingo said that, as NABTA, they leave the issue of the coronavirus vaccine to individuals.
“Those who want to be vaccinated, let them be vaccinated and vice versa,” said Nakathingo, who is privately a vaccine sceptic.
Reacting to Informante’s recent news report that many taxi drivers do not wear facemasks while transporting passengers, thereby their vehicles potential super spreaders of the deadly virus, Nakathingo said that wearing a facemask is mandatory and must be seen as “the priority weapon” in fighting against the coronavirus.
“Wearing a facemask is the first line of defence in the global war against the novel coronavirus,” he said.
He said that wearing a facemask makes one feel uncomfortable, but that should not serve as an excuse.
“We must protect ourselves and the passengers who are our customers,” he said.
He further said that drivers who feel uncomfortable wearing a mask can mitigate the discomfort after two to three hours on the road.
“Simply pull off, remove the mask and rest for a few minutes,” he advised.
On the issue of hand sanitizers, Nakathingo said that the responsibility should be shared between drivers and commuters.
“We encourage taxi and bus drivers to have hand sanitizers, but passengers should also carry their own hand sanitizers to use in case there is none in the taxi or bus,” he said.
Turning to the issue of taxi and bus operators refusing to halve the number of passengers, Nakathingo said that he understands the serious difficulties facing the transport industry, but the rules must be adhered to while NABTA tries to find a way out.