The 11 million citizens of Benin especially those in key regions are being forced to wear Covid-19 facemasks to fight the spread of coronavirus.
The Benin Police on Wednesday started enforcing the new directive as part of several measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
In some key regions including the largest city Cotonou, police were seen stopping pedestrians without masks and confiscating vehicles.
Residents are expected to wear surgical masks or homemade face coverings to avoid being stopped and questioned.
“We did not wear them before, but now that it is mandatory we are forced to,” motorbike taxi driver Franck Kpotcheme is quoted by the AFP as saying.
It has been difficult for many to afford though but the government said it has subsidized the price of face masks significantly to support families.
AFP quoted a resident Edouard Gbeha who emerged from a store saying “They just told me that there aren’t any masks available.”
“They say that they are obligatory and we want to buy them but can’t find them.”
Police have now warned that people who violate the directive to wear face masks should be detained.
Benin is joining a few countries around the world that has made wearing of face masks compulsory.