ZIMBABWEANS who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer have to wear face masks in public places, but must carry their vaccination cards at all times, Cabinet said yesterday.
Addressing a post-Cabinet briefing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the face mask requirement was removed as COVID-19 cases drop, and vaccination coverage increases.
“Noting the decrease in COVID-19 cases Cabinet resolved as follows: That those who have received three doses of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended vaccines are exempted from mandatory wearing of face masks in outdoor public places, but should, however, wear face masks in indoor public places and on public transport,” she said.
“Those fully vaccinated should carry their vaccination cards all the time; that all provinces continue intensifying COVID-19 vaccination activities for the nation to achieve herd immunity; and that the country remains on high alert for other outbreaks such as measles, regional poliomyelitis and the global monkeypox.”
Since May 4, 2020, the wearing of masks was made mandatory as the country battled to control the spread of the pandemic.
Some of the restrictions such as curfew have been long relaxed, but face masks remained in force, with police arresting people not wearing them.
Zimbabwe began a COVID-19 vaccination exercise in February 2021 after the country received 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China under the first phase of the programme.
Statistics show that an estimated 4,7 million people have been fully vaccinated against the pandemic against a targeted 10 million.
The country has recorded a total of 256 000 infections, and 5 588 COVID-19 related deaths.
In an unrelated matter, Cabinet said most of the 2 056 measles cases and 157 deaths were from people who were not vaccinated against the disease.
“The nation is being informed that following a report of the first case of measles in Mutasa district, Manicaland province, on August 10, 2022, the disease has now spread to other provinces. As of August 15, 2022, the cumulative figures from across the country had risen to 2 056 cases, and 157 deaths,” Mutsvangwa said.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory tract viral infection which commonly affects children and is spread through sneezing, coughing and by touching or contact with secretions of an affected individual. Newsday