KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 – The government dropped the requirement to wear face masks indoors in most public spaces, effective today, after previously lifting outdoor mask mandates.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said mask mandates would only remain in public transport like buses, trains, taxis, including e-hailing vehicles, planes, workers’ and school buses and vans; as well as health care facilities like hospitals, clinics, care homes, and haemodialysis centres.
“However, premise owners can decide whether to mandate mask use for patrons,” Khairy said in a statement.
“Besides that, people are strongly encouraged to wear face masks because it is proven to be able to reduce the risk of infection.”
The Ministry of Health (MOH) strongly encourages people to wear face masks when they are in crowded places like night markets, stadiums, shopping centres, and prayers of worship; if they have symptoms like fever, cough and cold; for high-risk individuals like senior citizens, those with chronic disease, the immuno-compromised, and pregnant mothers; as well as when engaging in activity with high-risk individuals like senior citizens and children.
MOH lifted the outdoor mask mandate from last May 1.
Khairy said today that MOH still, however, encourages outdoor mask-wearing in congested spaces and for symptomatic individuals, high-risk individuals, and when engaging in activity with senior citizens or children.
Those who test positive for Covid-19 must still self-isolate at home for seven days. They are required to wear face masks should they need to travel to a Covid-19 assessment centre (CAC) for a health check.
“Countries will go through waves of infection from time to time, but with tools at our disposal like vaccination, antiviral treatment, and the optional wearing of face masks, we can mitigate against the more serious outcomes of Covid-19,” Khairy told reporters here today after launching a conference jointly organised by the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA) and the Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries (MOPI).
He also said MOH has not yet decided to announce the country’s full transition to endemicity, pending additional research on potential new mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.