Dr Zaliha added that she will meet with the Ministry of Education to discuss new standard operating procedures (SOP) for schools, which will be released before they reopen.
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With Covid-19 still very much present in society and with the new sub variant Arcturus on the run, the Ministry of Health is currently encouraging students to wear face masks when they return to school.
However, responding to criticism from many, MOH added that students are only encouraged to wear face masks when they return to school, meaning it is still not a compulsory requirement.
Health Minister Dr Zalifa Mustafa explains, this is as Covid-19 cases in the country are showing a decreasing trend in numbers.
Dr Zaliha added that she will meet with the Ministry of Education to discuss a new standard operating procedures (SOP) for schools, which will be released before they reopen.
She also encouraged the general public to use face masks, amid concerns over the Arcturus sub-variant.
Speaking to the press at a press conference after attending a Health White Paper townhall session at the Sarawak General Hospital yesterday, The Star reported Dr Zaliha saying:
Face masks will not be mandatory but we encourage students to wear them, especially in crowded areas.Health Minister Dr Zalifa Mustafa
On April 26, several reports reported that MOH was mulling the return of the mask mandate in schools amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.
However, following that, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) had criticised the decision saying that priority should be given towards teaching children to wash and sanitise their hands than wearing facemasks.
MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai also noted that teachers should do their part by reminding students to sanitise their hands more frequently and avoid touching their face.
Any student having symptoms should wear a facemask, get tested and isolate if testing positive in line with the health ministry’s TRIIS (Test, Report, Isolate, Inform and Seek) system. There is no need for a facemask mandate in schools. Only students with symptoms or a medical condition that may put them at high risk, should be wearing facemasks.MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai
As an added preventive measure, he said that schools can get their teachers and students to self test themselves once on Sunday evenings ahead of school on Monday.
But this should only be for a brief period, to prevent any outbreaks in schools after the Raya holidays.
Aside from this, we wish to advise parents to encourage their children to keep themselves healthy by observing a healthy diet, exercising regularly and taking up sports activities as these simple steps will help them build a strong immune system — the body’s natural defence against illnesses.MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai