Colombia to drop mandatory face mask requirement in schoolS

Bogota, May 14 (IANS) Starting from May 16, Colombian schools can drop the mandatory use of face masks in enclosed spaces if they meet the criteria in light of a favourable Covid-19 situation over the past two weeks, the Ministry of Health announced.

At an event in Cartagena, Gerson Bermont, director of Promotion and Prevention of the Health Ministry, said only schools with 70 per cent of their students and teachers fully vaccinated and 40 per cent having received a booster dose will be able to lift the mandate, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We wanted to use this epidemiological period to analyze the figures, so if there had been any data that concerned us, we would have changed our decision. But we have had the same indicators for the past two weeks,” the official explained.

He also pointed out that only 42.2 per cent of children in Colombia are fully vaccinated.

Health Minister Fernando Ruiz applauded the measure at the same event, and called on families to speed up the vaccination process for children aged 3-11.

According to the latest Health Ministry data, 1,671 Covid-19 infections were reported over the last week, bringing the nationwide tally to 6,095,316 with 139,821 deaths.