Prof Mahdi says new COVID-19 regulations fail to prevent spread of virus

Wits University Professor of Vaccinology Shabir Mahdi has taken issue with the wearing of masks, saying it offered no protection.

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JOHANNESBURG - While some have welcomed the fresh limited COVID-19 measures announced this week, Wits University Professor of Vaccinology Shabir Mahdi said the regulations failed to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to the "new" temporary regulations, people are still required to wear face masks indoors, gatherings are limited to 50% venue capacity and international travelers will still have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test not older than 72 hours.

However, Professor Mahdi has taken issue with the wearing of masks, saying it offered no protection.

"If you want masks do that but you need to wear the right type of mask and wear it correctly. And especially for a variant such as Omnicron which is highly transmittable. What you need to do if you want to protect yourself from infection is wear an N95 or a KN95 mask which are still expensive and still in short supply in healthcare facilities for healthcare workers who require them the most. The type of cloth masks we use unfortunately doesn't have a proper seal around the nose and mouth and such doesn't it doesn't hold out the microparticles".

Meanwhile, the South African Medical Association has welcomed the continued use of face masks and encouraged South Africans to get vaccinated or take their booster shots.