The wearing of face masks in crowded public places will be made compulsory from August 1 onwards.

Senior Minister (security cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob, told a press conference today that this is due to the rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

"We have observed the lack of compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs), especially in public transportation, such as bus, trains, and airplanes.

"Social distancing rules are also hardly followed," he said.

Therefore, the government has decided to make compulsory, making wearing the face masks mandatory in crowded public places, such as public transportation, markets and so on, from August 1 onwards.

"Those who fail to abide by the rules can be compounded up to RM1,000, taken to court and so on," said Ismail.

According to Ismail, self-made masks are allowed, provided they follow the specifications set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) - which will be released by the government soon.

Ismail added that the government will also monitor social distancing practices observed at restaurants, following the emergence of a new infection cluster at a restaurant in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

Restaurants which are found to be flouting the SOPs set can be fined, and even risk closure, he warned.

Last Monday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin said that the government was mulling making the wearing of face masks in public places mandatory.

This in light of the spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

Following a bout of single digit cases in the first week of July, the past week has seen it increase to double digits.

Yesterday, 16 new cases were recorded, bringing the country's total number of infections to 8,831. The death tally is 123.

Globally, the infection and death toll from the disease has surpassed 15.3 million and over 630,000, respectively.

Photo source: Astro Awani