KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Malaysia has made face masks optional aboard planes effective immediately, the Health Ministry announced today.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said, however, that face masks remained encouraged for those with symptoms of Covid-19 as well as high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with co-morbidities.
“Based on the assessment of the current Covid-19 situation and taking into account the latest requirements, the Ministry of Health would like to announce that the wearing of face masks is no longer mandatory when boarding an airplane,” he said in a statement
Khairy said the Health Ministry performed a risk assessment of typical conditions aboard planes, such as ventilation levels, the use of high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters, forward-facing seating arrangements, and regular cabin disinfections.
The relaxation was also in line with health recommendations in the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, he noted
However, Khairy issued a reminder that the requirement was only being dropped within Malaysia and the use of face masks on outbound flights would still be subject to the requirements of the destination countries.
Earlier this month, Khairy had announced that face masks indoors were no longer mandatory, but subject to the discretion of the individual premise owner.
However, masks remain compulsory on public transport and in all healthcare facilities.