Scenarios Of Exemption From Mask Mandates In Malaysia

Khairy Jamaluddin says indoor mask mandates will stay for now, but lists eight situations and categories of people that have never required face masks.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 – Malaysia will retain indoor mask mandates for now, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today, even as the country plans to transition into an endemic phase of Covid-19 from April 1.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced earlier today that his government would drop outdoor mask rules from March 29, besides lifting other domestic Covid-19 restrictions, such as allowing the resumption of large-scale social events, live performances, and alcohol consumption beyond 10.30pm.

However, Singapore will still require people to wear face masks in indoor settings.

“When you’re in a premise with other individuals, you must wear a face mask; at indoor premises, you must wear a face mask,” Khairy told a press conference today.

He listed several scenarios when the Ministry of Health (MOH) has always provided exemptions from mask rules, noting that some people may not be aware of these. 

People are not legally required to wear face masks in these situations or if they belong to certain categories:

  1. One’s own residence or being alone in a hotel room or accommodation in a public facility
  2. Alone in a work space
  3. Sports and recreational activities (for example, going to a park with family members)
  4. Private vehicles, except e-hailing
  5. Eating and drinking
  6. Performances (singing, dancing, acting, ceramah)
  7. Children aged five years and below
  8. Individuals with special needs, like cerebral palsy and autism, or with breathing difficulties

“So I think our SOP (standard operating procedure), we’ll remind the public and republish this SOP, I think we can retain this SOP for now,” Khairy said.

England no longer makes face coverings mandatory in most public spaces, including public transport. All states in the United States, except Hawaii, have also dropped indoor mask mandates. 

Malaysia’s plan to transition to endemicity from April 1 involves reopening international borders without quarantine on arrival for fully vaccinated travellers; partially or unvaccinated travellers will need to undergo five days’ quarantine. Physical distancing rules in places of worship and capacity limits for indoor events will also be lifted.

The Malaysian and Singaporean governments also announced today that fully vaccinated travellers would be able to cross the Malaysia-Singapore land border without quarantine on arrival, or pre-departure or on-arrival Covid-19 tests from April 1. The quota for travellers will also be lifted.

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