The Health Ministry (KKM) has said it has no plans to drop the requirement for people to wear face masks in public places anytime soon.
Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday (14 December), Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang said the ministry will instead enforce it as part of the new normal moving forward.
He also highlighted the concerns over the emergence of the new and more transmissible Omicron variant in the country, adding that dropping the requirement will derail the government’s efforts in battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also said the majority of people surveyed by the ministry in October also agreed that the new normal standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be maintained.
Apart from wearing a face mask, the same applies for the practice and enforcement of social distancing in public areas.
“These two methods should be practised as a new norm by all individuals. As such, even if Malaysia moves to the endemic stage, this practice must be continued.”
“Additionally, with the emergence of the Omicron variant, we found that countries like the United Kingdom have also once again informed their people on the increased usage of face masks and physical distancing.” he said.
The Deputy Health Minister said this in response to a question from Lahad Datu MP Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi on when the Health Ministry plans to loosen existing SOPs that mandates the use of face masks and social distancing in public spaces.
Aaron also said that studies have shown the use of face masks is effective in reducing the risk of being infected by Covid-19.
The use of face mask and social distancing rules was first being mandates on 1 August 2020, when Covid-19 infections reached a worrying high following the virus’ arrival in the country earlier that year.
Aaron also stressed that the mandate was specifically meant to curb the Covid-19 spread, but it must be practiced with other SOPs such as frequent handwashing and maintaining safe distancing to effectively reduce the risk of infection.
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