From August 1, it will be mandatory to wear a face mask while using public transportation as well as when in crowded areas. This was announced by senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob earlier today. The decision to mandate mask usage was motivated by the climb in Covid-19 cases over the past week into double digits as well as an increase in clusters identified by the health ministry, the Malay Mail reports.

He said that this had led the government to question if public adherence to the standard operating procedures in public was beginning to decline. “Social distancing and wearing of face masks in public transportation is also not sufficiently adhered to, and in some cases outright ignored by certain quarters,” Ismail said during his non-health press briefing.

In May, Rapid KL had announced that the use of a face mask – and social distancing – was compulsory for those utilising its public transport services, while in June, Grab announced that it was implementing a new measure which would see its ride-hailing passengers being required to use a face mask. Its drivers and delivery partners had earlier been required to wear a mask while at work.

Ismail Sabri said that the public will be permitted to use home-made face masks that follow the specifics issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Earlier this week, it was reported that the government was looking at making the use of face masks in public places mandatory. 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 becomes mandatory.

If the wearing of a face mask in public places is made mandatory 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.

Tags: