Health Ministry: Wearing of face masks outdoors optional from May 1


People wearing face masks are pictured walking along Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur September 30, 2020. – Malay Mail photo

KUALA LUMPUR (April 27): The government has revised its mask mandate for the public today with the Ministry of Health (MOH) announcing it is now optional for those who are outdoors, but still mandatory for those who are indoors and in public transportation, including e-hailing services.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin however said that the ministry encourages the practice of wearing face masks as it helps curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, especially for those who are high-risk such as the elderly and children who are unvaccinated.

“In short, when it is enforced later, the protocols for all these, the wearing of face masks outdoors is optional, no longer mandatory.

“The enforcement of Act 342 would continue to be enforced on individuals who fail to adhere to the order to wear face masks indoors. We will still enforce mask mandate indoors,” he said in a media briefing.

Act 342 refers to the provision under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, which currently imposes a maximum of RM1,000 fine on those who violate government-set standard operating procedures.

During the press conference, Khairy was also asked about the dwindling numbers of Covid-19 cases recently and if this was because the public has not been reporting their health statuses to MySejahtera, owing to the upcoming Hari Raya celebration.

Khairy concurred that though the reporting trend has reduced, the ministry is still getting over 50,000 reports daily.

“But what is important is the positivity rate. If the report is dwindling but the positivity rate is still low, then it gives an accurate picture regarding the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

He said the positivity rate today is at six per cent, while yesterday it was at five per cent.

“So despite the reports having reduced, the positivity rate shows that the spread is under control within five to 10 per cent. At times it goes up shortly to 11 to 12 per cent. But in a mitigation stage in the transition to an endemic phase, now we accept that that is the acceptable level, that is why we still retain the use of MySejahtera,” he added.

In the same event, Khairy had also announced that scanning MySejahtera for contact tracing is no longer mandatory, and other relaxation of rules ahead of the transition to the endemic phase.

Mask-wearing is still mandatory indoors from 1 May 2022. However, it is optional outdoors. It is still encouraged when in crowded places and for high-risk individuals. – Malay Mail