Not wearing a face mask in public place could soon cause you to be RM1,000 poorer, or worse, land behind bars.

This is if the government makes wearing a mask compulsory under Act 342 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, said Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

"The Health Ministry encourages the people to put on masks particularly when they are at public areas, a space where social distancing is difficult to be practiced, or at a high-risk area.

"We have yet to make it mandatory (to wear face masks) because if it is made compulsory under Act 342, the violator will be fined or imprisoned, so we are still looking into the action that can be taken against someone who does not wear a face mask," he was quoted telling by the New Straits Times, at a press conference yesterday.

On Monday, in his televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had said that the government is mulling making the wearing of face masks in public places compulsory.

This amid the number of COVID-19 cases in the country spiking up again, after a downtrend.

Noor Hisham also yesterday, encouraged people to wear face masks, as it could cut risk of COVID-19 infection by 65 percent.

"Wearing a face mask cuts the chance of coronavirus infection by 65 per cent, practicing social distancing cuts the risk of the novel coronavirus between 65 and 70 per cent. So if we manage to observe these two measures, we are able to protect ourselves from being infected," he was quoted saying.

Face masks also must be worn properly, he reminded, so that it covers the chin up to the nose, as leaving it down at the neck or covering from the nose to mouth will increase the risk of infections, as the mask will be contaminated.

The country has recorded double digit new COVID-19 cases in the last few days - a spike from the single digit cases recorded in early July.

As of noon yesterday, the country has a total of 8,815 COVID-19 cases and 123 deaths from the disease.

Globally, the infection and death toll from the disease has surpassed 15 million and over 619,000, respectively.

Source: New Straits Times
Photo source: Reuters via Rojakdaily