Following the Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s reminder that face masks are only required for those who are unwell or attending to the sick, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has cancelled its directive that face masks are required to be worn by everyone including customers at supermarkets and restaurants.
According to Malay Mail’s report, the KL mayor has said that the practice of wearing face masks was now “encouraged” in such premises. It was alleged that DBKL had issued the directive that all staff, shoppers and suppliers must wear face masks or risk being closed under the Local Government Act 1976.
Yesterday evening, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had confirmed that there’s no such rule that makes it mandatory for the public to wear face masks. He clarified that any supermarkets that impose such rules on their customers have taken their own initiatives and the rule is not under the Movement Control Order that’s enforced to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
He echoed Heath DG’s advisory that the important thing right now is social distancing. During the press conference, he called the public to inform where these supermarkets are located so that the government can issue a detailed guideline on the matter. Ismail Sabri has also commended some supermarket initiatives such as providing plastic gloves for customers, putting up notices of social distancing and limiting the entry of customers to avoid overcrowding.
The Health Director-General had clarified that wearing of face masks isn’t necessary for all while answering a question over conflicting statements and guidelines over the need of putting on a face mask while in public. This causes confusion and some Malaysians insist that wearing a mask is still necessary as a form of protection.
The WHO has also provided a guideline on when you should wear a face mask. It is only required if you’re coughing or sneezing, or if you’re taking care of a person that’s suspected to be infected by COVID-19. The mask is only effective when used in combination of frequent hand wash and when the masks are disposed of properly.