Both on the state and federal levels, authorities have begun to look into the possibility of another wave of COVID-19 infections as many are expecting a significant increase in travellers from China as the country has finally decided to open up its borders later this month amidst a surge of cases over there. One of the latest examples is Melaka, which is apparently mulling over re-introducing mandatory face masks into its SOP.
The Melaka state government will enforce the wearing of face masks again by 17 January if it sees an uptick in infections. According to the state health and anti-drug committee chairman Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh, making face masks mandatory in public areas would be a pre-emptive measure in line with increasing global COVID-19 cases.
“We are monitoring the situation and we will not hesitate to make face masks compulsory in public and other premises if the need arises, based on our two-week evaluation of the number of cases reported,” said the chairman. Despite face masks not being legally mandated in public spaces, Dr Muhamad also urged tourists to start wearing masks immediately.
Additionally, he is encouraging Malaysians who have yet to get boosted to do so, especially those in high-risk groups. In case you missed it, high-risk individuals including senior citizens, those with comorbidities, or at high risk of developing serious symptoms will be able to get booster shots on a walk-in basis at any public health facility starting from 9 January. For those not under those categories, you can still make an appointment through MySejahtera.
Melaka isn’t the only state considering on imposing its own COVID-19 mandate, as Sabah is also in the midst of introducing new SOPs. While it first announced that tourists from China would need to take a pre-departure test before being allowed in, the state government postponed the policy and will finalise the changes after being briefed by its Health Department this week.
As for the federal government, the Ministry of Health will start conducting fever screenings on all international arrivals and will also be testing sewage samples from aircraft from China, but it does not plan on reinstating mandatory face masks for flights or indoor areas. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today said the government will impose stricter guidelines for all inbound travellers without discriminating against those from China.
(Source: The Star)