As Malaysia trudged through its first weekend in the Movement Control Order (MCO), numerous guidelines and advice popped up from various parties on the use of face masks.
When the MCO kicked in on 18th March 2020, anyone who found themselves outside of their homes were repeatedly instructed by the authorities to don a face mask. Many who go out shopping for groceries and necessities have also been barred from entering premises if they don’t wear one.
With the nationwide shortage of face masks, this naturally led to confusion and frustration among Malaysians who also took to the internet to express their exasperation.
However, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has emerged to say that it is not necessary to wear face masks unless you have the symptoms for Covid-19, or flu-like-symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and fever.
In public, you do not need to wear face masks unless you have symptoms of runny nose or cough, so it is not necessary for us to wear face masks, unless there is an indication for you to wear face masks.Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Health Ministry director-general via Malaysiakini.
According to Malaysiakini, Dr Noor Hisham dropped these words of wisdom at a press conference in Putrajaya on 22nd March regarding Malaysiaâ€™s Covid-19 cases. He also emphasised that the role of face masks are to protect healthcare workers when dealing with patients.
His remarks are in line with the World Health Organisationâ€™s guide on wearing this protective barrier during this pandemic, such as:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
The Health Ministry also recommends that everyone practices respiratory hygiene, even when at home during the MCO.
Stay safe everyone!
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