- South Africa's top scientist says not wearing a mask in public spaces in contributing to rising Covid-19 numbers and wants the act criminalised
- Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma agrees with the idea and wants to move forward with it
- The COGTA minister will table the motion before Cabinet for consideration
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has taken a suggestion to Cabinet to make it illegal to be in public without wearing a face mask.
According to COGTA, it is against the lockdown regulations not to wear a mask in public but it is not illegal.
The suggestion to make it illegal to be in public without a mask was made by Professor Shabir Madhi. Madhi is a Wits University professor of vaccinology who has been on the spotlight lately for conducting trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa.
SowetanLIVE reported that Madhi said people's disregard for wearing the mask in public spaces other than shopping malls was behind the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
Madhi said the increase in infections, especially in Gauteng, was due to people not doing what they are requested to.
"What we are seeing is ongoing transmissions of the virus in communities mainly because most people are not doing what they were asked to do, which is wearing the nonsurgical face mask, for example. It would be much more effective to have a regulation that forces people to wear masks."
Dlamini-Zuma's spokesperson Lungi Mtshali said the minister welcomed the suggestion and it would be tabling the motion to Cabinet for discussion.
Briefly.co.za reported that Madhi warned that South Africa is likely to experience a second and possibly a third wave of Covid-19 cases, lasting until 2022.
Shops all around the country do not allow people access inside unless they are wearing a mask. Some stores even check temperatures before allowing the person inside.
South Africa currently has 138 134 Covid-19 cases and 6 334 deaths. The Western Cape remains the epicentre of the virus. Gauteng has become of particular concern and numbers in the province have been rising at an alarming rate with a low recovery rate.
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