Wearing of masks remains optional: Health Dept

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The Health Department says the wearing of masks remains optional at this stage despite the emergence of a new sub-variant of Omicron.

The sub variant is said to have the potential to spread much faster but the severity of this version of the coronavirus is yet to be determined.

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Deputy Health Minister Sibongeseni Dhlomo says an additional vaccine booster is crucial to avert the spread of the sub-variant.

Travel restrictions

The ministry says after consultation with the World Health Organisation (WHO), there’s no need to impose travel restrictions.

Dr Dhlomo was part of the ministry’s virtual media briefing on COVID-19.

“I am always reminded that like when I am in an airline that they will always say government has lifted the compulsory wearing of mask. However, it is optional now, anybody in this plane who wants to wear it can still do so”.

“So, I think that’s a stand that we still have as government. That it is optional and no compulsory wearing of masks but we are calling on South Africans may be 50 years and above to get an additional booster. Also 18-25 years. But for the 12 to 17 years no booster needed as yet.”