Covid-19: Use of face masks in crowded public areas to be mandatory from Aug 1, says Ismail Sabri

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of face masks in crowded public areas and public transport will be made compulsory from Aug 1, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).

The Senior Minister (Security) said those who do not comply with the ruling can be fined or prosecuted in court.

He said the government made the ruling following the increase of Covid-19 cases for the past three days and lack of compliance on standard operating procedure (SOP) among the public.

"The Health Ministry reported that 50% of those undergoing home quarantine do not follow SOP.

"Given the rise of double-digit Covid-19 cases, the government has decided to make the ruling compulsory," he told a press conference in Parliament on Thursday (July 23).

"The government refrained from making it compulsory before this because we know that the lower-income group will face financial burden in purchasing face masks. Ideally, the masks should be changed every three hours but one face mask per day is also acceptable.

"However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has ruled that people can make their own face masks but following a strict set of specifications.

"In Malaysia, the Health Ministry will issue the specifications for home-made face masks soon," he added.

He reminded everyone to comply with the SOP, especially in wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing.

"Even though it is only compulsory to wear face masks in public from Aug 1, the people should start wearing them sooner, especially those travelling in public transport to 'balik kampung' for Hari Raya Aidiladha.

"Wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing will assist tremendously in preventing the spread of Covid-19," Ismail Sabri said.

Asked whether the number of visitors for Hari Raya Aidiladha will be limited, Ismail Sabri said the government has not made such a decision.

"However, if there is a significant spike in cases and the Health Ministry advises as such, we will look into the matter.

"The government's decision and ruling can change based on the latest development," he added.

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