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Covid-19: South Africa ends mandatory wearing of face masks

South Africa has ended the mandatory wearing of face masks to stop the spread of coronavirus. People had been required by law to use one in public indoor spaces or when using public transport.

The health minister also repealed other Covid-19 restrictions, including those that limited the size of gatherings and required tourists to show a vaccination certificate or negative Covid test.

“The Covid-19 virus is not yet gone… we are just stronger than before, especially with vaccination,” Health Minister Joe Phaahla is quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying at a news conference. The minister urged those eligible for booster shots or people who had not yet been vaccinated to get their jabs.

Around half of the country’s 40 million adults have received at least one vaccine dose, with 46% fully vaccinated, Reuters reports. According to the official figures, South Africa has been the worst-hit country in Africa with more than 3.9 million confirmed cases and more than 100,000 deaths.

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