PUTRAJAYA, 29 July 2020:
The ruling on compulsory wearing of face masks is applicable to crowded public places where social distancing could not be practised, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said face masks have been widely used by those taking public transport and the government is now looking to enforce this rule in stages.
“First, face mask (was introduced) for public transport. Now, we look into public places, mainly at very congested public places.
“Not in public places like car parks, when there is social distancing. The issue is (when) there is no social distancing in crowded public places,” he said in a media engagement session here today.
He said the government is also looking at a grace period of one month before fully enforcing this rule to ensure everyone has access to face masks.
“The poor and the needy must be given the masks as well. So, if everyone has access to face masks, then maybe after the RMCO (Recovery Movement Control Order), we will certainly enforce it (fully).“
Besides wearing a face mask, Dr Noor Hisham said the public must also practise social distancing and hand hygiene to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
On July 23, the government announced that the use of face masks in congested places or areas of public focus and on public transportation will be made compulsory beginning Aug 1.
Meanwhile, he said the Health Ministry (MoH) has screened 949,141 individuals since Covid-19 hit the country in January, with almost 9,000 people having tested positive.
He said almost half of the Covid-19 positive cases were detected among patients under investigation (PUI) and close contacts of Covid-19 patients.
“A total of 4,559 positive cases were detected among PUI while 3,375 cases were from the Sri Petaling Gathering Cluster.
“So far MoH has detected 751 imported cases which were infected overseas and 258 cases from surveillance activities.”
The deadly coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan, China in December last year, has infected 16.49 million people worldwide and claimed 654,327 lives.