Monday, April 21, 2003

‘Wear masks when necessary’

BY LOONG MENG YEE

SEKINCHAN: The public needs to wear protective masks only under certain situations as Malaysia is relatively safe with mild exposure to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) disease, said Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng.
FOR PROTECTION: Some of the different types of protective masks that are on sale to the public at pharmacies and medical outlets. - Bernamapic
“The six probable cases are all imported either from China or Hong Kong. The rate of transmission is low,” he reiterated.
He added that the ministry’s advice on the wearing of protective masks was to serve as a guideline and a response to enquiries from the public and the media.
Chua said protective masks should be worn in crowded and confined places such as supermarkets and where one was near a stranger who was coughing and sneezing.
“It is only polite that you exercise caution to protect others,” said Chua after opening a health awareness campaign at the SKC (C) Yoke Kuan here yesterday.
Chua said for maximum protection, those wearing masks should ensure that it covered their nose, mouth and chin.
He said the three-ply surgical masks were good enough to provide protection.
He also warned traders against hiking up the prices of masks.
“There have been cases where the N95 masks, retailing at about RM5, were sold at RM40 or RM50 each to cash in the public’s fear,” said Chua, adding that suppliers of hospital equipments should not raise the prices of their goods as well.