The Government has no plans to dump its policy on the compulsory wearing of face masks despite falling coronavirus infections and the relaxation of COVID-19 measures in other parts of the world.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister John Mangwiro said Zimbabwe will take a scientific approach in handling coronavirus and will not copy how other countries respond to the pandemic. Mangwiro said:
… As government, we are saying we stick to science, we want to follow science which is now there.
We do not necessarily follow what is trending on television or on Facebook.
We still believe and we also know that the virus is lethal; we cannot take it for granted.
Mangwiro said this while responding to a question by MDC Alliance Senator Elias Mudzuri during the question and answer session in the Senate on Thursday.
Mudzuri had asked the minister why Zimbabwe maintained the mask mandate when the worst-affected European countries and the United States of America have relaxed the policy after vaccinating their citizens. Added Mangwiro:
We definitely want to encourage people to continue putting on their masks and we do not encourage people to follow what is trending in other countries because we do not know what science they have, how much they have vaccinated their people and what else they are doing that we are not doing.
What we are seeing is that we find it necessary that people continue to get protected against the virus.
So, we want to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated and continue to put on masks as before until we get evidence scientifically that we should now put down our guard but for now, we want to continue following science which protected us in the past.
However, in Zimbabwe’s rural areas, people no longer wear masks while in urban residential areas, it is rare to see people wearing masks unless they are coming from town or churches.
The majority of Zimbabweans only wear masks within their CBDs or town centres where arrests are more common.