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Face masks become mandatory in Malaysia’s fight against Covid-19

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PHOTO: Azlan Baharudin on Unsplash

Even when it was in the grip of Covid-19 in March, reporting daily new cases in triple digits, Malaysia never made the wearing of face masks mandatory. Defense Minister Ismail Sabri says this was to avoid placing financial stress on the country’s poor, given that face masks should be changed at least once a day. However, as the country reports a resurgence in new cases, all that is about to change.

Face masks will now become mandatory while on public transport or in crowded public spaces, with heavy fines levied at those who do not comply. From August 1, anyone found not wearing a mask where one is required by law, can be fined US $235.

In an effort to help the less well-off, the government says that from August 15, the price of face masks cannot exceed 1.20 ringgit (just under 9 baht), down from 1.50 ringgit (over 11 baht).

Minister Ismail says the decision to make face masks mandatory is the result of a Health Ministry report which shows that the public has become lax with social distancing, particularly on public transport and in other crowded areas. Malaysia is currently experiencing an uptick in new cases of Covid-19, with 9 recorded yesterday. The country has so far reported 8,840 cases and 123 deaths.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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