Under-six children in South Africa will no longer be required to wear masks in public to comply with current mandatory requirements for Level 3 coronavirus restrictions, APA learnt on Monday.This was revealed in a just-published amended National Disaster Management Act which seeks to clarify the situation where non-users of masks face arrests or fines for failing to adorn the medical attire in public.
Chief executive of Proactive Health Solutions, Fundile Nyati said the amended law was in line with the UN World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommendation for children’s Covid-19 prevention measures.
“I think the National Disaster Management Act is following the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO),” Nyati said.
He added: “The WHO has actually said, as much as it’s desirable that everyone should take coronavirus precautions, they have come to the conclusion that children under five years of age tend not to put the mask on correctly.”
He said WHO believes that “the risk of not using the mask isn’t so much in this group of children.”
However, the official said children with pre-existing conditions should wear masks and their parents should consult with doctors before carrying out the measure.
The UN agency has, therefore, recommended a risk-based approach for children between the ages of six and 12 years old as far as mask-wearing among children was concerned, he added.