Govt mulls making masks mandatory in public; warns return of lockdown

PM during his televised address today.

By Chew Lip Song

THE government may make it mandatory for everyone to wear face masks in public as the Covid-19 cases start to rebound, following growing complacency, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The details on the proposal will be announced in due time.

He added that if the Covid-19 situation worsened, the government would have to enforce the kind lockdown implemented during the early stages of the Movement Control Order (MCO). But that is not something the government would like to do as it cost the the economy RM2 billion a day then.

Citing Sarawak’s Stutong cluster as among examples, Muhyiddin said he was concerned over the emergence of 13 clusters since the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) started.

“Since July 7, there have been four new clusters from those who returned from overseas. They are the Sarawak cluster (three cases), Malacca cluster (five cases), Terengganu cluster (three cases) and the KL cluster (two cases,” he said in a televised address this afternoon.

The PM said he was particularly concerned over the daily double digit new cases reported over the past few days and warned that this cannot be taken lightly.

If an outbreak ensued due to public complacency, that means previous efforts and money spent to revive the economy had gone to waste, he added.

If strict lockdown measures were imposed again, the country may not achieve its targeted growth rate for 2021.

“More businesses will fold and the unemployment rate, which was 5.3 percent in May, will increase exponentially. We must avoid this situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said that during the current recovery phase of the MCO, every individual was now a “frontliner” to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He called on parents,teachers, employers, community leaders and village heads to play their roles in curbing the spread of Covid-19, such as advising the public to wear masks.

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