Health D-G: No Need To Wear Face Masks Unless You Have COVID-19 Symptoms

Only if you have symptoms like runny nose or cough.

Cover image via Choo Choy May/Malay Mail & Hari Anggara/Yahoo News

Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) kicked in on 18 March, the public has been given mixed information regarding whether or not to wear face masks outdoors

Initially, people were urged to wear face masks when heading out of their homes.

Several netizens even complained that they were banned from entering grocery shops and markets for not wearing masks.

To clear up the confusion, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah recently announced that the public does not need to wear face masks unless you are showing flu-like symptoms

Dr Noor Hisham reminded that face masks are a priority for healthcare workers and other frontliners when they deal with patients - and supplies for them are dwindling.

"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," he said in a press conference yesterday, 22 March, as reported by Malaysiakini.

His statement is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s criteria for wearing masks:

- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 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.

Medical staff and others working on the front lines are lacking face masks and medical supplies

On Sunday, 22 March, The Star reported that the government was forced to import 10 million face masks from China to cope with the lack of supply in Malaysia.

Remember to #JustStayAtHome. Watch the latest update on the COVID-19 situation:

The lack of medical supplies have forced doctors to wear garbage bags when working:

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