Coronavirus: Face masks not compulsory in schools, says Malaysian minister

Students wear masks during class at a secondary school in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on June 24, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Schools in Malaysia are required to provide face masks only to students and staff who show coronavirus symptoms during school sessions, said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

"The guidelines issued by the Education Ministry only require schools to provide soap, hand sanitisers and carry out temperature screening," he said in a statement on Friday (July 17) explaining that the use of face masks in school was not compulsory.

On compulsory quarantine, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said a Malaysian who returned from overseas on Thursday was sent to a hospital after tests showed that the person was Covid-19 positive.

The individual was among 594 Malaysians who returned via KL International Airport (KLIA) from Singapore, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Cambodia and Japan.

Mr Ismail Sabri said the rest were ordered to observe the 14-day mandatory quarantine at home.

Between June 10 and Thursday, 19,298 returnees were screened for Covid-19 at KLIA and low-cost termimal KLIA2, with 74 individuals testing positive.

The minister also reported that police arrested five foreign nationals for violating immigration laws.

Mr Ismail Sabri said the arrests were made at Ops Benteng roadblocks nationwide on Thursday, where the police checked 40,151 vehicles for illegal immigrants.

"Police also arrested 48 people for failure to ensure social distancing while out in public places.

"Five were remanded while the remaining 43 were issued with compounds," he said.

Mr Ismail Sabri also said that the task force monitoring compliance to the standard operating procedure conducted 62,733 checks on Thursday.

Checks were conducted at 3,939 supermarkets, 5,491 restaurants and 1,720 hawkers.

"Checks were also made on factories, banks, government offices and transport terminals to ensure compliance," he said.

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