Ministry looking into action against those who don't wear face masks

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is looking into whether action can be taken against people who fail to wear face masks if this practice is made compulsory in Malaysia.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said when wearing a face mask is made mandatory under Act 342, Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, a violator could be fined RM1,000 or jailed for the offence.

"The Health Ministry encourages the people to put on masks particularly when they are at public areas, a space where social distancing is difficult to be practiced, or at a high-risk area.

"We have yet to make it mandatory (to wear face masks) because if it is made compulsory under Act 342, the violator will be fined or imprisoned, so we are still looking into the action that can be taken against someone who does not wear a face mask," he said at a press conference here today.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government was mulling to make the wearing of face masks in public places mandatory.

Muhyiddin said the government would announce the decision once the relevant rules had been finalised.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry recommended people to wear face mask as it could cut risk of Covid-19 infection by 65 per cent.

"Someone who is on a flight or bus, or in a space where the 1m social distancing is hard to practice, must wear a face mask.

"Wearing a face mask cuts the chance of coronavirus infection by 65 per cent, practicing social distancing cuts the risk of the novel coronavirus between 65 and 70 per cent. So if we manage to observe these two measures, we are able to protect ourselves from being infected," he said.

He also reminded people to wear a face mask properly, by making sure it covers their nose up to the chin.

He said leaving their face mask at the neck, or partly covering from the nose to mouth will increase the risk of infection as the mask will be contaminated.

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