Masks no longer mandatory for fully vaccinated
Harare(New Ziana) – The wearing of masks in public is no longer mandatory for people who have received three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as the government further loosens up containment measures it put in place when the pandemic struck, Cabinet announced on Tuesday.
But, the wearing of masks will still be required indoors, in public transports and at gatherings such as concerts.
In June this year, the government lifted a midnight to dawn curfew that had been imposed as part of Covid-19 containment measures as the pandemic situation in the country remained under control.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the decision was made by Cabinet after it noted the decrease in Covid-19 cases.
“Those who have received three doses of the WHO recommended vaccines are now exempted from mandatory wearing of face masks in outdoor public places but should however wear masks in indoor public places and on public transport.
Those who are fully vaccinated should carry their vaccination cards all the time,” she said.
“Cabinet notes that the pandemic continues to be brought under control in most provinces.”
Further explaining the decision, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister professor Amon Murwira said those who could not be vaccinated because of their age would still be required to wear masks both indoors and outdoors.
“The categories are very clear, those people with three jabs are the ones who could, we are not saying they must, they could move around without a mask outside but not in closed spaces,” he said.
“If you are not vaccinated (at all or fully) put on a mask because you are at risk.”
Asked how these changes will be enforced, Murwira said; “It means that just like you drive around with your drivers’ licence, you have to move around with your card just in case you are asked why you are not putting on your mask then you say I am fully vaccinated.”
Murwira said government was not totally abandoning masks yet because it was important to maintain some degree of caution.
“Masks are not a punishment, but a protection against Covid-19 and are worn in the interest of public health and the health of the individuals who are putting them on. We can have times when things are OK like this, we have been disciplined as a nation so things are very good at the moment but as you know this thing can just spike and start again so it is in the public health interest.”
Zimbabwe has implemented a widely acclaimed Covid-19 management programme, which included strict lockdowns and an impressive vaccination campaign.