[ UPDATE 27/04/2022 17:00 ] Malaysia is dropping the face mask mandate for outdoor from 1st May 2022. MySejahtera check-in is no longer required but the app is still needed to show COVID-19 risk status.
Two years after the pandemic, it appears that Malaysia could be making face masks optional as the country is in the process of transitioning to the endemic phase. It was reported that Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin has hinted that the Government will soon reduce more COVID-19 related restrictions which include the current mandatory requirement of wearing a face mask in most public spaces especially indoors and on business premises.
During a press event yesterday, she was reported to have said “Saya boleh buka ‘mask’ kan? Tak apalah, selepas raya pun dah optional” (Can I take off my mask? It’s okay, it will be optional after Raya).
When Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was asked about the matter at a separate press event, he merely said “wait until next week” without giving any indication if there will be a change to the current face mask mandate.
Khairy has also emphasised that it is better to dial back COVID-19 SOPs gradually. While Malaysia may lag behind other countries in easing preventive measures, it would allow the nation to avoid making the same mistake as others. He added some countries think they have won, but today their cases are on the rise.
One prime example would be the United Kingdom where face masks are no longer required by law. However, it is still suggested in crowded and enclosed spaces.
Three weeks ago BA announced they were dropping their face mask mandate, now they’re cancelling flights due to COVID-related staff absences just in time for Easter holidays 🤦♀️— Signe Johansen (@SigneSJohansen) April 5, 2022
Come on @British_Airways, reinstate the policy to protect your staff and passengers. This isn’t hard. https://t.co/5UAuLKPRrU
In mid-March, their flag carrier British Airways announced that it will drop the face mask mandate but weeks later, they had to cancel flights due to a shortage of staff following the surge of new cases. A few days ago, it was reported that over 15,000 holidaymakers were stranded as British Airways and EasyJet had to cancel at least 100 flights due to staffing issues and the crew was reaching their maximum legal working hours.
Earlier this week, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) was reported to have issued a statement that fines would no longer be issued for individuals who fail to put on their face masks in Public. Eventually, PDRM retracted the circular and said it was a technical error. It clarified that compounds will still be issued for individuals violating the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
According to the latest SOP published by the National Security Council dated 7th March 2022, face masks are mandatory in public areas except for:
- Hotel or accommodation for yourself and household members
- Individual working space
- Sports and recreational activities
- Own vehicle which includes same household members
- Indoor and outdoor public spaces or areas without other individuals
- Having meals or drinks in public spaces (besides restaurants or eateries).
- Amidst public confusion, SIRIM mandate for non-medical face masks postponed to 2023
- PDRM’s message claiming that “masks are no longer required in Malaysia” was a “technical error”
- Health experts: 3-ply masks sufficient for guarding against Omicron variant… but only if worn properly
- Tajuddin fined RM1,500 for not wearing face mask during LRT crash press conference