The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus’s insidious character means it’s a particularly nasty piece of work, and all it needs is for one infected person to unwittingly spread it on for mayhem to eventually occur. Or reoccur.

For a good while, it looked like we’d tempered things, but as is the case with that, a coronavirus, like rust, never sleeps. The low number of cases has seen the approach to safeguards becoming slacker and the behaviour more cavalier (no, we won’t go into the breaking of home quarantines). Some people have also questioned the need for masks, saying that it’s pointless at this stage when domestic cases are almost zero.

Well, insidious thinks otherwise, and it ain’t quite zero, no? The fact that cases have gone back into double digits continuously for the past few days is causing the government to worry over the fear of more occurring or the possibility of another wave coming about, which no one really wants.

As such, authorities look to be moving towards making the use of face masks in public places mandatory in a bid to halt the progress of Covid-19, looking to enforce their use with penalties for not doing so, The Star reports.

According to health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the government is considering whether to go with a fine or jail time for those refusing to wear a face mask once its use is made mandatory in public places. If the wearing of a face mask is made mandatory in public places under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, he said that those flouting the law could either be fined RM1,000 or put in jail.

“The health ministry is encouraging the use of face masks, especially in public places, high-risk places or places where social distancing of one metre apart is hard to enforce. We have currently not made it mandatory because once we make it mandatory under the Act, we would have to consider the punishment,” he said, adding that authorities are still looking into the level of punishment that will be meted.

He said the growing number of infections was worrying, as the number of new Covid-19 cases hit double digits for the third straight day yesterday, with 15 cases being recorded (with 16 cases today, July 22, it’s now double digits four days in a row).

Noor Hisham reiterated the ministry’s recommendation on the use of face masks, which could reduce the risk of infection by 65%, as well as social distancing, which could reduce transmission by up to 70%.

So, remember to stay vigilant, and that means wearing masks when you’re out in public places. You might have no choice but to do so without exception soon. We’ll continue the practice of doing so in our video shoots, because it really is better to be safe than sorry.

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