by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by TMR FILE
THE Health Ministry (MoH) has no plans to make wearing face masks mandatory for the public.
Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said if the ministry was to make it mandatory then those caught not wearing a face mask would be issued a RM1,000 fine, or jailed if they failed to pay the compound.
“However, the practice of wearing face masks is strongly encouraged, especially in public and crowded areas, to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection,” he said yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham also stressed that the virus is still in the community and the public must maintain good hygiene and social distancing.
He warned of another outbreak if the public became careless.
Yesterday, the country recorded four new Covid-19 cases, all of which were import cases.
Dr Noor Hisham said they involved three Malaysians and one foreigner returning from Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia.
“There were no cases of local transmission yesterday,” he added.
The new cases yesterday brought the country’s overall total to 8,729 with 83 active cases being treated at health facilities nationwide.
Among the active cases, six were placed in the intensive care unit with two cases under ventilator support. Four patients recovered yesterday, increasing the total recovered cases in Malaysia to 8,524 or 97.7% of the total cases.
No new deaths were recorded yesterday, as the country’s death tally remained at 122.
Additionally, Dr Noor Hisham said another Covid-19 cluster, the Kuala Lumpur 2 construction site, officially ended yesterday.
This cluster reported 73 positive cases and no deaths.
To date, the MoH has officially ended 60 Covid-19 clusters in the country.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry detected two more positive cases from the Novgorod cluster in Melaka yesterday.
So far, a total of five individuals have been infected with Covid-19 infection from this cluster.
“One case was a close contact to the 8,673th case.
“The second case was a new case of imports from Russia who arrived in the country on July 13,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture) said stern action would be taken against the 255 people who disobeyed the government’s order to take the second Covid-19 test on the 13th day of their home-quarantine period.
“The police will take action against them if they still refused to take the test, and they may face a compound of RM1,000 or two-year imprisonment,” he told a press conference on the latest development of the Recovery Movement Control Order yesterday.
Ismail Sabri said the government viewed seriously the failure of the individuals in complying with the standard operating procedures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The minister said 17,689 Malaysians returned home via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) between June 10 and July 13.
“Of the total, 17,616 individuals have been ordered to undergo quarantine at home and 73 others were admitted to hospital.
“On July 13, 536 Malaysians returned via KLIA and KLIA2 from Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Singapore, Japan, the UK, Vietnam, the Netherlands, India and China,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said returning Malaysians must undergo the Covid-19 test three days before their departure date to avoid being denied entry into the aircraft.
On another note, the minister said expatriates in Malaysia are disallowed to leave the country for holiday purposes.
If caught disobeying the rules, they will not be allowed to return to Malaysia until further notice.