No reason to delay new face mask guidelines – Khairy

No reason to delay new face mask guidelines – Khairy

There is no need for the government to delay the newly announced face mask guidelines amid fears expressed by public health experts that Covid-19 cases could potentially shoot up during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin strongly recommended the people such as those in the high risk groups, senior citizens, immunocompromised and unvaccinated children to wear their face masks when they are in crowded outdoor spaces.

This was despite the choice to either keep the personal protective equipment on or off when outdoors from May 1 onwards.

Khairy said the Health Ministry had taken into consideration several factors before it announced the new face mask guidelines after observing the situation at Ramadan bazaars which were crowded with visitors.

“After Ramadan, there will be open houses but we take it as the risks would not be high like the crowded situations in bazaars.

“But the recommendation by the ministry is clear. We encourage face masks in open but crowded spaces, although it is non-compulsory in outdoor settings.

“This is because as we are now in the transition phase (to endemicity), we want the rakyat to get used to community solidarity and individual responsibility.

“Secondly, from the science point of view, the infectivity of Covid-19 in open areas is lower compared to closed areas.

“Everyone is encouraged to have their masks on in crowded areas. I feel this is a balanced decision by the ministry.

“We take note of the concerns raised by health experts. The ministry had to make a decision after taking into consideration all factors, including the comfort of the people and the science behind the Covid-19 infection,” said Khairy today.

He said this after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) and non-profit medical research Organisation Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (correct) (DNDi) to develop safe, affordable and effective treatments for dengue fever.

Also present were Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, deputy director-general (research and technical support) Datuk Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim, CRM chief executive officer Dr Akhmal Yusof and DNDi South East Asia director Jean-Michel Piedagnel.

Public health Specialist Dr Safiya Amaran had earlier urged the government to delay the easing of the face mask mandate for outdoor areas until early July.

She said it was crucial to prevent an explosion of cases during and after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations. Nst

No reason to delay new face mask guidelines – Khairy

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