Illustration: Brian Wang
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the use of masks routinely by the general public but they are in the process of reviewing this decision. Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) follows the guidelines from the more evidence-based WHO.
MOH has tweeted that it is not necessary for the general public to wear masks unless the individual is caring for those with respiratory symptoms such as cough and flu, a health care professional attending to patients, a frontliner on duty, or an individual having respiratory symptoms. However, the general public is encouraged to wear masks particularly in crowded places where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
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A recent study by Datuk Dr Amar-Singh HSS shows that some Malaysians did not use the mask correctly and some tend to touch the outer surface of the mask. Not knowing how to use the mask properly and dispose it properly can increase the risk of infection. The following is the do’s and don’ts of wearing medical mask:
Always remember that masks are effective only when used in combination with the two standards of the ‘new normal’. Number one, safe distancing of at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance from others, which is still the most important measure of all in preventing transmission. Number two, observe good hygiene at all times. This includes washing hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth when outside the house, and disinfect surfaces regularly. Stay safe!