MP urges Department of Health to educate public on benefits of wearing masks
LAWAS (April 23): The Department of Health must step up its public education on the benefits of using face masks in public, in view of the possible lifting of mask mandates in the country, the MP for Bandar said Kuching, Dr. Kelvin Yii.
In a statement released yesterday, the DAP lawmaker said that even though Bukit Aman has withdrawn the order to stop enforcement of mask mandates, it is still likely that mask mandates will be lifted, especially for the public. ‘outside.
“Even if it was a ‘U-turn’, it’s likely to indicate that those mask mandates will be lifted, especially for outdoors.
“However, if ever such a decision is made, it must be first and foremost made by the Department of Health and then a coordinated cross-departmental effort to educate and issue clear opinions on the importance and benefits of masking itself. without warrant. ,” he said.
A circular ordering police to stop issuing compounds against those who do not wear face masks had gone viral on social media this week, but Bukit Aman quickly denied it.
Dr Yii pointed out that this could include advice for different people who should continue to wear masks even when outdoors, especially vulnerable groups or those in close contact with vulnerable groups.
“That would include those with compromised immunity, for example, or living with someone who does.
“In such cases, it’s a good idea to continue wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing from strangers, especially when they’re indoors,” he said.
He stressed that every decision regarding the relaxation of Covid-19 SOPs, even when the country is already in an endemic phase, must be based on data and science.
Dr Yii said data shows that when outdoors or in open ventilated areas, the virus is less likely to spread.
“So in that sense, if we’re outside, in a non-congested area, the risk is lower and it’s a bit safer not to put on a mask.
“One way to determine if there is good ventilation is if you don’t feel the wind on your cheeks, you are probably not in an area with good outdoor ventilation. This data was used in the decision to Singapore to allow unmasking only in outdoor areas, but still has indoor mask mandates, especially in crowded areas such as public transport,” he said.
He warned that while outdoor mask mandates are likely to be relaxed after Hari Raya, the public should not let their guard down and continue to wear a mask, especially when in crowded places. and crowded.
“We don’t want to see an uncontrollable vertical thrust like we’ve seen in countries that have relaxed their restrictions too much.
“We can’t just assume that the Omicron variant is ‘benign’, but it also risks overwhelming our healthcare system if not properly managed,” he said.