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The WHO Says It's 'Extremely Important' For Fully Vaccinated People To Keep Wearing Masks

The WHO is concerned about the spread of the Delta variant.

Even though Canada has outlined situations when fully vaccinated people can go without face coverings, World Health Organization (WHO) officials are asking everyone to continue keeping up with mask requirements and other public health measures.

During a COVID-19 briefing on June 25, Dr. Mariângela Simão, the WHO's assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said that masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and other measures are still needed.

"This still continues to be extremely important even if you're vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing," she said. "People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves."

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead for COVID-19, was also in favour of keeping up with public health measures. She noted that the Delta variant is more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself is "extremely transmissible," and it's spreading quickly among unvaccinated people.

On the same day that WHO officials made these recommendations, the Public Health Agency of Canada put out guidance on when fully vaccinated people can ditch masks and distancing. The federal government later said that the country is "exceeding" its goal of having everyone fully vaccinated by the end of September.