No need to wear face mask in Sabah – health director

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Dr Asits

KOTA KINABALU (April 20): There is no need to wear face masks in open areas in Sabah for the time being following the recent volcanic eruption at Mount Ruang (about 1,500 km away from Sabah), said Sabah Health Director Datuk Dr Asits Sanna.

He said the deduction was the result of a risk assessment carried out by the State Health Department (JKNS) but people are advised to immediately seek treatment at the nearest health clinic or hospital if they experience respiratory symptoms.

“This department also monitors haze-related diseases such as upper respiratory tract infections, asthma and conjunctivitis in several health clinics and hospitals in the state of Sabah,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

He said JKNS also advises the public to follow the air quality status report issued by the Department of Environment at https://apims.doe.gov.my/home.html and take health measures based on the Air Pollutants Index (API) in their respective areas.

Dr Asits said the volcanic eruptions, with a towering ash column, can release dangerous particles such as ash as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) gases.

He said according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the observed eruption sent an ash cloud up to 16,764 metres (55,000 feet) in the air, but API monitoring did not show air quality on the earth’s surface was affected.