Ismail Sabri: Parents Allowed To Bring Children To Shopping Malls And Restaurants

However, he advised caution as children are a high-risk group for COVID-19.

Cover image via Bernama/Sinar Harian & Tatler Malaysia

Children are allowed to go to public places, including shopping centres, restaurants, and public playgrounds, but precautions must be taken to prevent them from getting infected with COVID-19

Senior Minister for Security and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said there are no rules or penalties gazetted for bringing children out and parents or guardians will not be punished for doing so.

"There are no restrictions for children to buy toys, shop, and so on if they are with their parents," he said at the National Security Council (MKN) briefing yesterday, 17 June.

Image via Bernama

However, Ismail Sabri still advised parents to try and keep their children safe at home since they are a high-risk group for the disease

Even with face masks on, he said that parents should put their children's interest above anything else before deciding to bring their children out of the house.

"There are no penalties for this but since they are categorised under the COVID-19 high-risk group, we do not encourage children to tag along," he said.

He emphasised on not bringing children to crowded or confined areas where social distancing cannot be observed.

"Although playgrounds and malls are now open, the standard operating procedures such as social distancing, use of hand sanitisers, and wearing face masks must be observed at all times," he said.

Image via Bernama

Meanwhile, health experts have stated that children who are too young should not be wearing face masks for the fear of suffocation

According to The Star, National Early Childhood Intervention Council adviser and senior consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS said face masks are suffocation hazards for children below two years old, especially since they are unable to communicate their discomforts.

Which meant that, at present, there is no clear solution to protect young children from COVID-19 transmission.

Dr Amar explained that even for young children aged two to four, masks may not be helpful if they refuse to wear one or if they keep touching their faces.

"Not wearing a face mask properly is a little bit more risky than wearing one, when you keep touching it. It may be harmful. Among children, we need to choose carefully who wears a mask," he said.

The American Academy of Paediatrics also advised that children need not wear face masks, when at home or outdoors, as long as they stay at least 2m away from others and avoid touching potentially infected surfaces.

It also cautioned that face masks are choking and strangulation hazards, and that if children touched their faces more frequently, wearing a face mask is not suggested.

The advisory maintained that the best way to protect a child is by having them stay at home and practise social distancing.

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