Malaysia to drop the indoor Face Mask mandate? Khairy says a decision will be made soon –

Singapore has recently made face mask-wearing optional for indoor settings earlier this week and it appears that Malaysia could be taking a similar step soon. During a press conference held yesterday, Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed that an announcement on whether the face mask mandate for enclosed spaces is to be withdrawn will be made very soon.

He said the matter has been discussed internally, and more or less we know what the decision is. He has also indicated that a decision would be made in a couple of days.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has recently called upon the government to consider ending the COVID-19 preventive measures of wearing a mask indoors in view that other countries have lifted their respective mask mandates. The MMA said the country’s COVID-19 situation is now stable and it is now appropriate for Malaysia to discontinue the last remaining SOP to manage the pandemic.

Its president Dr Koh Kah Chai said “It is time that we seriously consider doing away with wearing face masks in enclosed spaces.” However, he added, “The only caveat being certain public transport which involves the cramming of people for a long duration of time, nursing homes, eldercare centres and healthcare facilities.”

Malaysia has lifted the requirement to use MySejahtera check-in and wearing face masks outdoors from 1st May, but wearing a mask is still encouraged in crowded outdoor areas and for high-risk individuals. According to the COVIDNow dashboard, Malaysia has been recording between 2,000-4,000 new COVID-19 cases and less than 15 COVID-19 deaths daily in the past week. The number of COVID-19 cases in ICU and requiring ventilators currently remain at moderate levels.

Concerns about long-COVID and protecting vulnerable individuals

While most new COVID-19 infections are less severe, there are doctors and medical professionals calling for the authorities to maintain the face mask mandate due to concerns about Long-COVID. Responding to the recent recommendation by the MMA, Dr Amar-Singh HSS said the association needs to consider the data on Long COVID even among the vaccinated. He added that there’s also a need for community responsibility to protect vulnerable people.

Singapore’s current mask mandate

According to the Ministry of Health Singapore’s latest recommendation (29th August), face masks are now only required for persons who are 6 years old and above at healthcare facilities, residential care homes, and medical and public transport. According to their guidelines, face masks are required on public buses and MRT/LRT services, but it is optional for private bus services (e.g. school buses, company buses, shuttle buses) as well as taxi and private hire vehicles.

If you’re taking a flight, face masks are not required on outbound flights if you’re going to a destination that does not require mask-wearing on board. It is still required if you’re flying out or flying in from a country that requires mask-wearing on flights. It is reported that many Singaporeans are still not comfortable to ditch the face mask completely to safeguard themselves and to protect their loved ones.

Will you continue to wear your face mask if Malaysia does lift the face mask mandate? Let us know in the comments below.

[ SOURCE 2 ]

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