Government Says Fully Vaccinated People Exempted From Wearing Face Masks
The government of Zimbabwe has exempted individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from wearing face masks even when they are in open public places although they would be required to wear them in enclosed areas.
Fully vaccinated people are those who received their first two doses of vaccines. The government recommends the booster vaccine.
Meanwhile, the announcement has seen some offices that had been closed reopening while people are now engaging more in their outdoor activities such as mere socialising, beer drinking, roasting meat outside liquor outlets, and playing social soccer.
Health expert Professor Solwayo Ngwenya has warned against the removal of face masks, saying the move could trigger a resurgence of COVID-19. He wrote on Twitter in a recent post:
Covid-19 is not yet over except in some people’s wishful imagination.
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Prof Ngwenya urged people to continue wearing masks until the World Health Organisation had declared that the pandemic was over.
Zimbabwe imposed the face mask measure in 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March of that year.
The southern African country has been reluctant to remove the measure despite the decrease in COVID-19 cases in recent months.
Neighbouring countries including South Africa, the country with the most cases in Africa, scrapped the face mask measure months ago.
Zimbabweans have been expressing mixed feelings over the government’s decision to maintain the measure with some saying face masks were no longer necessary.
COVID-19 cases have subsided to only 84 cases between August 15-21 this year down from more than 4 000 cases recorded on a single day during the fourth wave in December 2021.