Experts: Practise self-discipline

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KUALA LUMPUR: It is all systems go for the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places beginning today.

But experts have cautioned people to practise self-discipline as they will likely be faced with situations where they will join big crowds on public transport or business premises, where social distancing will prove difficult.

Medical experts said while enforcement would be in place at light rail transit, mass rapid transit and KTM Komuter stations, wearing a face mask on such public transport was one of the most effective barriers in reducing the risk of being infected with Covid-19.

Professor Dr G. Jayakumar of the Community and Occupational Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine in Melaka Manipal Medical College said after a few months of enduring the pandemic, avoiding crowds and minimising travel were still the best way to avoid infection.

However, if these activities could not be avoided, he said, wearing a mask and frequently washing hands were among things that must be put into constant practice.

He said it was time the public took responsibility in maintaining precautionary behaviour because the pandemic was ongoing.

“It will be a challenge for the public to maintain social distancing on public transport that has started running in full capacity.

“If there is an urgent need to travel, then frequent hand sanitising or hand washing, donning a mask and maintaining social distancing are advised.”

He urged people to visit supermarkets or shopping complexes during non-peak hours.

Children and the elderly were also not encouraged to accompany adults to crowded premises, he said.

“Consumers should use the services provided by some supermarkets, where shopping items are packed and picked up at the exit points. Another good thing to take up is online purchases of goods.

“We need to be innovative and practise some common sense this pandemic.”

Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar urged people to practise personal hygiene, avoid close contact and gatherings.

“Malaysian, in general, are forward-looking people. We are moving fast to become a developed nation. Our people are on the same level as the people in Japan, Taiwan and Sweden. But there are still communities or groups with Third World mentality and attitude. We have to change this.”

The government’s new ruling on compulsory mask-wearing came after Malaysia saw a spike in Covid-19 cases and a rise in non-compliance with the Recovery Movement Control Order’s (RMCO) standard operating procedures.

Those without face masks will be refused entry to premises, and those who flout the rule could be prosecuted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, which provides for a fine of up to RM1,000.

Checks by the New Straits Times in Klang Valley showed that public transport hubs and shopping complexes have put up signs to allow only people wearing face masks into their premises.

Similar notifications were put up on their social media pages.

Businesses and public transport operators said they were prepared to enforce the ruling.

Almost all shopping complexes and public transport operators have made face masks compulsory since the MCO took effect, besides requiring visitors to scan their QR code via the MySejahtera system, or have their particulars jotted down and their body temperatures taken before entering any premises.

Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd corporate communications chief Ahmad Asri Khalbi said all staff, especially those stationed on the frontlines such as on board train crew, auxiliary police, platform and stations staff and ticket counter staff, had been informed about the latest ruling.

“They must advise passengers to wear face masks prior to boarding our services.

“Those who intend to buy them (face masks) can do so at our ticket counters in designated stations, subject to availability.”

He said at least two crew members comprising a station crew member and an auxiliary policeman would patrol each station.

This, however,

depends on the services, location and size of the station.

“Major stations like KL Sentral, Ipoh, Seremban, and JB Sentral would have more than five personnel manning the crowds.”

Asri said passengers were reminded about the new rule via its KTMB’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms while posters were pasted at stations.

A spokesman from Prasarana Malaysia Bhd said at least one auxiliary police personnel would be stationed at entry points to screen and monitor passengers.

Prasarana operates urban rail and bus services, including three LRT networks, the KL Monorail Line and the MRT line.

“Prasarana has been operating at 100 per cent capacity, as permitted by the government.”

A spokesman from the Sunway Group said it had set up a Sunway Crisis Management Task Force to implement safety and hygiene guidelines in its malls, theme parks, hotels, medical centres, sales galleries, university and colleges.

By New Straits Times.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/08/613177/experts-practise-self-discipline

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