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WHO reinstates mask recommendations for fully vaccinated, as Delta variant spreads

"Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission," said WHO official Dr. Mariangela Simao of the Delta variant.

Updated: June 30, 2021 - 11:44am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The World Health Organization is recommending face coverings for people vaccinated for COVID-19 amid concerns about the spread of the Delta variant, thought to be more contagious than strains earlier in the pandemic.

"Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission," Dr. Mariangela Simao, an assistant WHO director, said in a briefing Friday in Geneva, according to CNBC. "People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene ... the physical distance, avoid crowding. This still continues to be extremely important, even if you’re vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing."

The variant reportedly represents roughly 90% of new cases in the United Kingdom and 20% of the new ones in the United States. 

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed its recommendation about those being fully vaccinated not having to wear a mask in most settings.

In Australia, virus outbreaks across the country, believed related to the variant, have resulted in the cities of Sydney and Darwin being locked down. Perth has made masks compulsory for three days and warned a lockdown could follow after a resident tested positive after visiting Sydney more than a week ago.

In addition, the cities of Brisbane and Canberra have or will soon make wearing masks compulsory, according to the Associated Press.