By: Patrick Beech
The use of face masks in enclosed spaces is now optional, announced Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.
However, he said the use of face masks is mandatory in public transportation such as buses, airplanes or when having symptoms and at health facilities and care centres.
It is also mandatory for those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are required to go to Covid-19 Assessment Centres (CAC) to undergo health evaluation.
“Premises owners can impose the wearing of face masks on those seeking to enter and spend time in their establishments to curb the spread of the virus.
“It’s the owners’ right to deny customers who flout their conditions. Some premises owners might feel that they are exposed and the risk is high if masks are not worn,” he said.
However, despite the lifting of the restriction, he said the people were advised to keep their masks on as it stops the spread of Covid-19.
He said it was crucial for those who are in the high-risk category especially the elderly and the immunocompromised as well as those who are exposed to them and people who are symptomatic to continue wearing the mask.
Khairy offered the same advice for those visiting crowded spaces such as shopping malls.
Mask wearing had been made compulsory in public indoor and outdoor areas in the country since Aug 2020.
He said the decision to make the wearing of masks optional was based on the fact that Malaysia had been through several months of the transition to endemicity phase and the virus was under control. Khairy also mentioned the availability of antivirals which further boosted the decision.
He however urged caution as experts do not know whether the virus would mutate to become milder or more dangerous to public health.