PETALING JAYA, Malaysia: Face masks are no longer mandatory on flights, said Malaysia's Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
In a statement on Wednesday, Khairy said this protocol would take effect immediately. "On Sept 7, 2022, the Health Ministry announced relaxations on face masks and decided that its use indoors is optional.
"Based on the current assessment of the Covid-19 situation and taking into account the latest requirements, the ministry has decided that face masks are no longer mandatory when on board aircraft," said Mr Khairy.
However, he added that the ministry still highly encourages the use of face masks for those who are exhibiting influenza-like symptoms; high-risk individuals like the elderly, those with chronic diseases, those with low immunity and pregnant women; as well as those travelling with high-risk individuals like the elderly and children.
Khairy added that a risk-based approach was used to make the decision, taking into account improvements in aircraft technology and practices such as good cabin ventilation, usage of high-efficiency particulate absorbing (Hepa) filters to remove airborne pollutants, forward seating arrangement and frequency of aeroplane disinfection scheduling. He added that the relaxation of the rule is also in line with health recommendations from the European Union, Britain, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.