Peru to Remove Mandatory Outdoor Mask Requirements for Some Regions

Yesterday the Council of Ministers announced that the use of masks will not be mandatory in regions where vaccinations have reached more than 80% in the third dose in people over 60 years old and more than 80% in the second dose in people over 12 years old. This will be only in open places and with social distancing, a measure that could be modified according to the epidemiological context.

Those regions were outdoor masks will no longer be mandatory are Ica, Callao, Metropolitan Lima, Lima Provinces, and Ancash. The policy is planned to go into effect on May 1. A new Supreme Decree including this should be coming from the Council of Ministers next week as the current rules are set to expire on April 30.

According to the Ministry of Health (Minsa), the areas of the country with more than 80% of people over 60 years of age vaccinated with the third dose against COVID-19 are Ica (85.1%), Callao (84.9%), Metropolitan Lima (83.5%), Lima Provincias (83.0%) and Ancash (80.7%).

Minsa says that those same departments comply with the second provision, which is to have 80% vaccination coverage with two doses in persons 12 years of age and older. The order is similar, first is Ica, with 95.7%, followed by Callao (93.4%), Lima Provinces (93.2%), Metropolitan Lima (92.5%) and Ancash (92.1%).

The departments of Tumbes (91.5%), Piura (88.4%), La Libertad (88.3%), Moquegua (88.2%), Arequipa (87.4%), Pasco (86.4%), Lambayeque (86.1%), Apurímac (85.6%), Junín (85.4%), Cusco (82.7%) and Cajamarca (81.7%) also have over 80% two-dose coverage in those over 12 years of age, but Minsa made clear that 80% coverage with the third dose must be reached in those over 60 years of age to be eligible for the proposal to remove the mask.

Following the announcement, The dean of the Colegio Médico del Perú (CMP), Raul Urquizo, said approving the optional use of masks in open spaces in areas with 80% vaccination with three doses is totally wrong. He clearly said that the CMP did not recommend that and does recommend that no city complies with that requirement.

After a meeting with the Primie Minister Anibal Torres, Urquizo said that “We had told him that there were regions with 70%, we recommended (to the government) to do more discard tests in general, a monitoring and if the indicators show a rise we had to go back (on lifting measures). There is no department with the third dose at 80%. There was an error of interpretation on the part of the premier. We cannot send distorted messages because people become confident.”

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