GOVERNMENT says it is in “no hurry” to relax mandatory wearing of face masks despite a decline in new COVID-19 infections in the country.

On Tuesday, Information and Publicity minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet media briefing that the average new infections stood at 16 per day in the past week, with no COVID-19 cases recorded in schools.

“The overall number of new COVID-19 cases continued to decrease, with 112 cases having been recorded, compared to the 133 recorded the previous week, marking a 16% decline,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Cabinet reports that a total of 17 new admissions were recorded during the week compared to 13 the previous week. No patients were admitted in the intensive care unit. This indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic remains under control.”

Government introduced mandatory wearing of face masks in May 2020 at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.

Regional countries like Botswana and South Africa have since lifted the mandatory wearing of face masks.

National COVID-19 taskforce chief co-ordinator Agnes Mahomva said government was closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

“Yes, the numbers are going down and we are so proud as a country that we are doing exceptionally well than other counties in the region and even globally,” she told NewsDay.

“Despite various challenges, we remained focused. This is one of the main reasons why we will not to be so quick to relax some of the measures to protect people. We are just coming out of winter, but we are keeping our eye on it to see that we are completely out of it before we review and decide what we need to do with face masks. We are giving it a few weeks.”

She said with schools closing this week, there was no hurry to remove the face mask mandate as the country was still in the winter season where respiratory infections are common.

“Law enforcement agents are still enforcing proper wearing of masks, as long as we are recording cases of COVID-19, masks are necessary. It is not about what other countries are doing — South Africa, United Kingdom or America — it is about what we are seeing on the ground,” she said. Newsday