BOGOTA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- 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.
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.