Colombia to drop mandatory face mask requirement in schools
Colombian schools can drop the mandatory use of face masks in enclosed spaces if they meet the criteria starting on May 16, in light of the favorable COVID-19 epidemiological situation over the past two weeks, the Ministry of Health announced Friday.
At an event in Cartagena, Gerson Bermont, director of Promotion and Prevention of the Health Ministry, said only schools with 70 percent of their students and teachers fully vaccinated and 40 percent having received a booster dose will be able to lift the mandate.
"We wanted to use this epidemiological period to analyze the figures, so if there had been any data that concerned us, we would have changed our decision. But we have had the same indicators for the past two weeks," the official explained.
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He also pointed out that only 42.2 percent of children in Colombia are fully vaccinated.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz applauded the measure at the same event, and called on families to speed up the vaccination process for children aged 3-11.
According to the latest Health Ministry data, 1,671 COVID-19 infections were reported over the last week, bringing the nationwide tally to 6,095,316 with 139,821 deaths.
Authorities in Beijing sent all residents of a large housing complex into quarantine after 26 cases of Covid were discovered in the compound, Beijing Youth Daily reported. Residents of the compound in Chaoyang district were moved to a quarantine centre for seven days from Saturday, according to the report, which cited a notice issued Friday by the virus control and prevention command of Nanmofangxiang.
Anthony Albanese is all set to become the Australian Prime Minister after his Labor party toppled the Conservative government, after almost a decade in power, in the general elections held over the weekend. He has described himself as the only candidate with a “non-Anglo Celtic name” to run for prime minister in the 121 years that the office has existed. He is still widely known by his childhood nickname Albo.
Embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had announced a state of emergency with effect from May 6 midnight, almost a month after imposing the first phase, on April 1. Citing an improvement in the law and order situation, the Presidential Secretariat announced emergency had been lifted with effect from Friday midnight, local media reported. Under the state of emergency, police and security forces had sweeping powers to arbitrarily arrest and detain people.
The Quad Leaders Summit in Tokyo next week will discuss challenges and opportunities across the Indo-Pacific and focus on ways to deliver on the vision of a free, open and inclusive region, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Saturday.
Australia's Labor Party is set to take power for the first time since 2013, as voters booted out Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative government in a shift likely to bring greater action on climate change, women's issues and anti-corruption efforts. The Australian Broadcasting Commission said Labor won at least 72 seats, compared with 52 for Morrison's Liberal-National Coalition, with independents and third parties taking the rest. It wasn't all good news for Labor.