PUTRAJAYA: Effective May 1, the wearing of face masks in outdoor settings and open areas will no longer be compulsory, but optional, Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin announced today.

However, it will remain compulsory in indoor settings and in public transport, including e-hailing vehicles, he said when announcing the relaxation of the preventive and control measures of Covid-19 in line with the transition to the endemic phase in Malaysia, here today.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH) encourages the wearing of face masks in outdoor settings to continue to be practised, especially in crowded areas such as Ramadan bazaar, night markets and stadiums.

“The wearing of face masks in outdoor settings and open areas are optional, but highly encouraged as the face masks can reduce the risk of infection,” he said.

Khairy said the wearing of face masks, however, remains as compulsory in indoor settings, such as shopping malls, as actions can be taken under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 [Act 342] against individuals who failed to comply with the regulation.

He said the face masks can be removed if the person is alone, eating, drinking, delivering a speech or performing a show.

“The wearing of face masks, especially indoors and in public transport, is still important to protect oneself and those around, especially those in the high-risk group, such as the senior citizens, children and immunocompromised individuals,” he said.

Khairy said the standard operating procedure on physical distancing among individuals and groups is also unnecessary now as all activities have been allowed with 100 per cent use of space capacity.

“However, physical distancing is encouraged in the settings where everyone is not wearing face masks,” he said. - Bernama