At 1,587, India recorded its least daily deaths in 60 days. Active cases have fallen below the 8 lakh mark while daily recoveries continue to outnumber daily new cases for the 36th consecutive day. Even as India observes a downward trend in Covid-19 cases, the government has mandated citizens to abide by social distancing rules and wearing masks to curb the further spread of the deadly disease.
While India struggles to overcome the impacts of the second covid wave, there are some countries across the world that have not only successfully defeated the virus but have also gone mask-free.
Here is a look at the countries where people have started living a pre-pandemic life;
In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the month of May, put a halt to the mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. As per the new rules, Americans who administered both the vaccine shots were no longer required to wear a face mask outdoors while running, walking, and in small gatherings. Fully vaccinated people were however required to wear masks on airplanes, buses, trains, and other public transportation. The mask removing guidance was heralded by US President Joe Biden who during an event at Rose Garden addressed the crowd maskless and proclaimed ‘Today is a great day of America’.
China, the country which had reported the first case of Covid-19 was also among the first to go mask-free after the country successfully defeated the deadly disease. Although masking up was once required at all public venues, authorities now say people don’t need to do so while outdoors, at public gatherings or when they’re in places that have good air circulation. Still, people are subjected to mandatory mask-wearing rules nationwide at hospitals and transport hubs. The new guidelines also suggested people who have a fever or respiratory symptoms to avoid attending weddings, birthday parties, and other family gatherings. China was one of the worst-affected countries in the initial days, but the government curbed the situation with strict lockdowns.
Since the past year, Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has been hailed for its successful handling and quick response to the Covid-19 pandemic which led to the country going mask-free in a short period of time. The country reported just 2,658 Covid-19 cases and 26 deaths. In fact, just a few days ago, a concert was organized in Auckland, which was attended by nearly 50,000 people without social distancing and mask requirements.
Israel became the first country in the world to declare itself Covid-19 free in April. With nearly 70 percent of its population receiving the Covid vaccine, the government removed the mandatory rule to keep the face mask on. The country reported no new Covid-19 cases since April 24 which marked a remarkable achievement for a country that had the highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate in the world as recently as mid-January this year. Israel had overall registered 8,39,000 Covid-19 cases and 6,392 deaths.
Despite sharing its border with China and India, Bhutan was able to combat the novel coronavirus without even going under a lockdown. Bhutan won the battle against Covid through timely actions, preventive measures, and its vaccination drive which was able to vaccinate more than 90 percent of its adult population in just two weeks. The country reported 1,309 COVID-19 cases and just 1 death.
The face mask mandate for people outdoors was dropped after Hawaii witnessed a dip in Covid-19 cases. 57% of Hawaii’s residents have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine while just under half the population has been fully vaccinated. Governor, David Ige however maintained that people should wear masks indoors, whether or not someone is vaccinated. Starting June 1, ocean sports competitions like surfing contests and canoe paddling races were also allowed to be held.
Besides the above countries, France on Wednesday said it was ending the obligation to wear masks outside and would bring forward the lifting of a nighttime curfew, as Covid infections fall and the country’s vaccine drive picks up. Prime Minister Jean Castex said the requirement for people to wear masks outdoors in much of the country would be lifted from Thursday, with some exceptions, while an 11 pm Covid curfew will be scrapped on June 20, 10 days earlier than initially planned.