Public encouraged to wear face mask especially in crowded areas

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): Wearing a face mask is strongly encouraged, especially in public and crowded areas, to reduce the risk of infection from Covid-19, says Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

"The Ministry of Health (MOH) encourages people to wear masks but at the moment, it is not compulsory," he told a daily press conference on Covid-19 here Monday (May 4).

In addition, Dr Noor Hisham reminded that other conditions must also be followed namely maintaining social distancing of at least one metre and observing good personal hygiene including frequent hand-washing.

"The MOH hopes that all Malaysians will adhere to the SOP (standard operating procedure)," he said.

Asked on compliance by the public on the first day of the conditional movement control order (MCO), Dr Noor Hisham said it was too early to judge.

"But looking into the practice of other countries like in Taiwan or South Korea, they do not have MCO in place but they have social discipline and comply with the SOP.

"Now the SOP is clear and the MOH would like to urge all Malaysians to practise social distancing, put on a mask when in public and continue to wash hands from time to time," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the SOPs for the industries and restaurants were also clear and that compliance was very important to break the Covid-19 infection chain.

"If they can comply, we can break the infection chain, if not, there is a risk for our infectivity rate to increase from the current rate of 0.7 and this will be closely monitored," he said.

Asked on the ministry’s justification on the conditional MCO, which has been gazetted, Dr Noor Hisham said the strategy for MCO phase one, two and three was to flatten the curve by encouraging everyone to stay at home.

"MCO phase one, two and three and early part of four is to make sure the public stays at home, that is the message. Now the message to the public on conditional MCO is to follow the SOP," he said. - Bernama
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