By Mei Kuan
There has been a slew of erroneous news circulating in social media on the new rules regarding the wearing of masks in public and Ipoh Echo decided to check on the REAL facts and here they are:
Effective August 1, the wearing of face masks at crowded public areas and on public transport is mandatory in which failure to comply will result in a fine of RM1000 under Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988).
Examples of crowded public settings are wet markets, night markets, supermarkets, tourist spots and cinemas while public transport comprises buses, taxi,e-hailing vehicles, LRT, KTM, etc.
To be practised in addition to physical distancing and clean hand hygiene, the wearing of face masks may reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by 60%, thus helping to break the chain of spread .
There are two types of face masks for prevention: medical (3-ply surgical mask) and non-medical (fabric mask).
The use of the 3-ply surgical mask, commonly worn by health workers, is advised for individuals who are at more risk. For example, elderly (60 years old and above) and those with chronic illnesses (high blood pressure, diabetes etc) especially at infected areas and settings where social distancing cannot be achieved. Medical masks are flat or pleated and are affixed to the head with straps or ear loops.
Fabric masks are advised for individuals without any symptoms when out at places where social distancing is difficult such as public transport, workplaces, grocery stores and other crowded environments. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a fabric mask which has 3 layers: a hydrophilic inner layer made of cotton or mixed cotton, a hydrophobic middle layer made of synthetic non-woven material and an outer hydrophobic layer made of polypropylene, polyester or a mix.
Meanwhile, face masks should not be worn when exercising, by children under the age of 2, individuals with breathing difficulties, the unconscious, incapacitated or anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Never share face masks with other people. Do not reuse a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp. When wearing a mask, make sure it covers both the nose and the mouth properly while also being tight enough to allow you to breathe normally.
As announced in the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Health in a recent post, the wearing of face masks is not mandatory at home and in one’s own vehicle.
In a live press conference today (August 3), Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob explained that face masks are not mandatory in private vehicles whether one is travelling with family members or work colleagues.
“After discussion with the police and the Ministry of Health, the police have agreed to cancel summons issued to those who did not wear face masks in private vehicles,” he added.
“This is very clear – private vehicles are not public transport,” he stressed.