Health minister Zweli Mkhize recommended on Friday that South Africans wear three-layered cloth face masks when in public, a U-turn from an earlier guideline after scientific evidence showed fabric coverings of the face can lower the transmission of the novel coronavirus. 

Until now the government and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, a research agency on infectious diseases, have said people without symptoms did not need to wear masks unless they are caring for an infected person, hoping to keep specialised masks available for health-care workers...

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