The Face Mask Fiasco in Malaysia: You can finally buy them. As for free masks from the govt 🤔

Finally, on 18 April, face masks were on sale at a Caring Pharmacy branch.



PETALING JAYA: Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi says Putrajaya is looking at ways to assist manufacturers of face masks, after one company said it could not continue production.

Linggi said: “We are looking at ways to help them, the issue is not linked to a single ministry alone, but we are working as a government to find a solution.”

Linggi said local manufacturers could produce around 1.2 million masks per day, and the government was relying on imports as well.

Last week, a manufacturer said the company could not carry on production because the new ceiling price of RM1.50 per mask left the company at a disadvantage from higher import duties and costs of raw materials.



NEW YORK, April 4 ― The new coronavirus might spread through the air via normal breathing and speaking, a top US scientist said yesterday as the government was poised to recommend the use of face masks for everyone.

Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told Fox News the guidance on masks would be changed “because of some recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak, as opposed to coughing and sneezing.”

As it stands, the official advice is that only sick people need to cover their faces, as well as those caring for them at home.

Fauci’s comments come after the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) sent a letter to the White House on April 1 that summarized recent research on the subject.

It said that though the research isn’t yet conclusive, “the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing.”

Until now, US health agencies have said that the primary pathway of transmission is respiratory droplets, about one millimetre in diameter, expelled by sick people when they sneeze or cough.

These quickly fall to the ground around a metre away.

But if the virus can be suspended in the ultrafine mist we expel when we exhale, in other words an aerosol, it becomes much harder to prevent its spread, which in turn is an argument in favor of everyone covering their faces.


Excerpts from:

The great mask debate

Dr Amar-Singh HSS -April 3, 2020 3:19 PM

Whether or not to wear masks is an issue under hot debate in many parts of the world. Some are calling it the “great mask debate”.

2. The second issue is that anyone who is unwell should wear a mask. If you have a fever, running nose or cough, you should wear a mask when outside the home. But the key is, if you are unwell please stay at home. You should also keep away from family members.

Now we come to the difficult issue of “should the general public wear masks?” We have seen conflicting advice being given, even locally, with some saying it is not necessary and others restricting people from entering facilities or travelling without masks. There are many good commentaries available. Three good ones are by Ed Yong from the Atlantic, Tara Haelle from the Forbes and Zahra Hirji from BuzzFeed News; all good reads.

I have tried to answer this question with a series of FAQs with links to useful sites and material. Bear in mind that the entire discussion here is focused primarily on the use of cloth or homemade masks.

Question 1: What is the recommendation from the authorities?

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently does not recommend the routine public use of masks. However, it is in the process of reviewing this decision. Although US health authorities initially came out strongly against the public wearing masks, they are also considering revising this.

In some European nations, you cannot leave your home or enter a supermarket without a mask (e.g. Czech Republic and Austria). Closer to home, China has pushed for compulsory face mask use in affected regions and in South Korea, masks, especially cloth masks, are routinely used when outside the home.

Locally, the health ministry has said that it is not necessary for the general public to wear masks unless unwell but we also received conflicting opinions from others.

Question 2: Can wearing a mask be dangerous or harmful?

As mentioned earlier, the use of masks cannot replace safe distancing; that is, it must not create a false sense of security. Wearing a mask does not mean you can stop and talk to everyone. The key fundamentals of wearing a mask are: wear it correctly, don’t fiddle with it, remove it safely, dispose of it safely. If you wear a mask and then fiddle with it off and on, you increase your risk of infection. The SARS-CoV-2 virus may be found on the outer surface of your mask and may last there for some time.

As we are discussing cloth masks in this article, we need to remove it safely, put it immediately into a container with soap and water (to wash and reuse) or into a plastic bag if outside the home. We need to wash (or disinfect) our hands with soap and water before and after we take off the mask.

Question 5: When should we use masks?

During the MCO, we should probably use a cloth mask whenever we go out for an essential trip like buying groceries at the supermarket, visiting the petrol station or tapau-ing food. When the MCO is relaxed, we should consider wearing a cloth mask when going to the office, travelling in public transport, doing our shopping – perhaps most of the time when we are outside the home. This may mean we should carry more than one cloth mask and change it carefully at lunch time. Wearing a mask all the time may not be easy for everyone to do. Some with medical problems may find it even harder.

Dr Amar-Singh HSS is a senior consultant paediatrician.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


Health officials appear to be coming around to masks for the general public. We asked four experts for their advice.

How effective are face masks at stopping transmission?

Jeremy Howard The primary transmission [of coronavirus] is now known to be droplet-based, and we now know that that transmission largely occurs in the first seven days after infection, when people are largely asymptomatic. So that means that if you’re highly infectious, you probably won’t know it. So we should all assume that we are potentially lethal to people around us. The way we are potentially lethal to people around us is when we speak: that’s when these micro droplets get ejected up to six feet.

If you’re speaking, and you put a couple of layers of cotton or paper towel in front of your mouth, the droplets go into that and not into the face of the person you’re speaking to. That’s why masks dramatically help reduce the spread of the virus.

Jessica Justman It’s like a pitcher and a catcher at a baseball game. And the masks are all about trying to keep the pitcher from pitching the ball. There are more pitchers than we realized, and if we need to all wear masks in order to keep the pitchers from pitching their balls, then so be it.

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