Facemasks now optional in airplanes

by AUFA MARDHIAH / Pic by BLOOMBERG

THE wearing of facemasks in airplanes is optional, effective yesterday. 

However, the Health Ministry advised individuals with symptoms (fever, cough and cold); high-risk individuals (the elderly, chronic diseases, low immunity and pregnant women); as well as individuals traveling with high-risk people to continue with the practice. 

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the decision was made using a risk-based approach and has taken into account improvements in aircraft technology such as good ventilation in the cabin; the use of high-efficiency particulate absorbing filters to remove airborne pollutants; forward seating arrangement; and frequency of aircraft disinfection scheduling; as well as the more controlled caseload of Covid-19 in Malaysia. 

“The ease of restriction is also in line with health recommendations from countries such as the European Union, the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

“However, the need to wear a face mask on an airplane is still subject to the conditions set by the country visited,” he said in a statement today.

In May this year, the ministry removed the requirement for facemasks outdoors which was previously made mandatory in August 2020.

Later, Khairy announced the same for indoors, but it was up to premise owners whether wearing masks in their premises was still mandatory.