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Face masks no longer mandatory indoors

Exceptions to this rule will be made at healthcare facilities and on public transport.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
People wearing face masks stroll about in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.
People wearing face masks stroll about in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.

The use of face masks indoors will be optional effective immediately, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today. 

However, he added that the face mask mandate would remain at all healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, on public transport including e-hailing vehicles, and for those who are Covid-positive. 

High-risk individuals are encouraged to continue wearing face masks, while individual premises will also have the option of insisting on the use of face masks.  

In a statement, Khairy said the health ministry encouraged the continued use of face masks in crowded areas such as night markets, stadiums, shopping centres and houses of worship. 

Those with symptoms such as fever and cough are also encouraged to wear masks, as well as those who are involved in activities with those in the high-risk group such as children and senior citizens. 

"The health ministry will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation within and outside of the country, and ensure that the health services remain at optimal conditions to safeguard the well-being of the people in facing Covid-19," he said. 

"The easing of restrictions does not mean that the public can take lightly the risk of infection."

The government made the use of face masks mandatory on Aug 1, 2020, at the peak of the pandemic which has so far claimed 36,255 lives and infected 4.7 million people in the country. 

Face masks were made optional outdoors on May 1, as part of the country's move towards the endemic phase of Covid-19. 

In his statement today, Khairy also said that the health ministry's technical working group had discussed on Aug 3 the latest proposals and recommendations on the administration of Covid-19 vaccine. 

He said pregnant women at risk of severe disease due to Covid-19 could receive a second booster dose at any time during pregnancy, a recommendation in line with that of the World Health Organization for those in this group. 

Children aged five to 12 with comorbidities or those who are immunocompromised meanwhile can be given a first booster dose within six to nine months after the last dose of vaccine received. 

Children between six months and five years of age with comorbidities or who are immunocompromised can likewise be vaccinated against Covid-19, Khairy said, adding that the health ministry had begun the procurement process for vaccines formulated specially for this age group.