Give all students reusable masks since usage compulsory next month, former deputy health minister tells Putrajaya

Gopeng MP Lee Boon Chye speaks to the media at the second meeting for the Third Term of the Fourteenth Parliament 2020, July 27, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Gopeng MP Lee Boon Chye speaks to the media at the second meeting for the Third Term of the Fourteenth Parliament 2020, July 27, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — The federal government should provide reusable face masks to students who have resumed classes since wearing these in crowded spaces will be mandatory from August 1, said Dr Lee Boon Chye.

The Gopeng MP and former deputy health minister said the government could start by distributing these to younger students in preschools and primary schools, before moving to older students.

“Providing the face masks will help prevent spreading of the Covid-19 infection among school students as asymptomatic infections risks are much higher with children compared to among adults,” he told reporters during a press conference today at the Parliament building here.

He added that schools were high-risk infection areas, citing lessons gleaned from South Korea.

“To provide two washable face masks for each student (5.4 million students nationwide), it costs less than RM24 million, an estimation of less than RM2 per unit.

“This will lessen the burden of parents to prepare these face masks for their children in light of the mandatory law enforced,” he said.

Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir also asked the government to clarify if it has audited its nationwide distribution of face masks to all Malaysian households previously.

In April, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government was distributing 24.6 million face masks to Malaysians for free.

“Has the government audited the face masks distribution?” Akmal asked today.

“Because from our reports received, many families say they did not receive facemasks as promised.

“Who should be held responsible for this?” said Akmal, who was also present at the press conference.

He also urged the government to bring forward the enforcement of the ceiling price for face masks from August 15 to August 1, in line with the mandatory requirement of wearing face masks.

“It’s practical to enforce both implementations together,” he added.

The mandatory regulation was put in place by the government due to the recent increase in Covid-19 infections in light of reports by the Health Ministry that public adherence to the standard operating procedures in public is beginning to decline.

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