The government is mulling making the wearing of face masks compulsory in public places, to ensure the number of COVID-19 cases in the country remains low.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said this in a televised address to the nation today, in which he also pleaded for people to continue practicing social distancing and avoid public places, to keep the disease contained.

"The details on this (making mask-wearing in public places compulsory) will be announced when the details are finalized by the government," he added.

The premier expressed worry at the spike of new COVID-19 cases in the country back to double digits, in the last few days, and the emergence of new clusters.

"I'm constantly monitoring the updates on the pandemic, and it is far from over. Other countries are still reporting record-high numbers of COVID-19 cases daily, and so far, more than 14.5 million have been infected, and over 600,000 people have died from the disease around the world.

"Although the number of cases is relatively low in our country, I'm worried about the emergence of 13 new clusters during the Recovery Movement Control Order (PKPP)," he said.

This is in reference to the order, which was enforced on June 10, and is to run until August 31, 2020, which allows the majority of businesses to reopen, to get the economy afloat.

"We cannot take this matter lightly. I'm sure none of you want the government to reimpose lockdown if COVID-19 cases spike up again. I also pray and hope that the situation will not come to that level," added Muhyiddin.

Another lockdown will leave the country in an almost irreparable economic damage, he warned.

'Let's Do This Together'

The success of bringing down COVID-19 cases in the country down to the current level is due to the people's compliance to the conditions set by the government, he reminded.

"Continue following the 'new normal'. Don't give up on using face masks in public places, maintain social distancing of at least one meter from one another, and refrain from physical contact. Don't shake hands and hug each other, to protect ourselves, as well as others."

Muhyiddin urged everyone - from employers to headmasters, teachers, and also community leaders, to play a part in combatting the outbreak.

"Parents must also always remind their children to wear face masks, maintain social distancing, use hand sanitizer, and avoid crowded places. Remind them daily, if need be.

"Let them say you are nagging, but this is crucial to keep your family safe."

The premier expressed confidence that Malaysian will emerge victorious over the virus if everyone played their part.

"Our economy is improving, and our lives are almost back to normal.

"Let's not get careless and negligent and spoil this now. Let's all do this together."

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has been on an upward trend in the last few days, with 15 new cases reported as of noon yesterday (July 19).

This after single-digit cases were reported in the first week of July.

To date, a total of 8,779 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 123 deaths, have been reported in the country.