Give frontliners priority for face masks, says expert

KUALA LUMPUR: Priority should be given to frontliners and people with Covid-19 symptoms to receive face masks, a public health specialist said today.

Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar, president of the Malaysian Public Health Medicine Specialist Association, said doctors, nurses, clinic staff and the police need to deal directly with patients but the lack of face masks supply has made it difficult.

“Frontliners should be given priority if supply is limited,” he said. “People with symptoms should also wear a mask to prevent infection. Do not waste our resources at this time,” he said.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr N Ganabaskaran said the use of face masks is not mandatory for the public but was more important for frontline workers, whose health was directly at risk while dealing with Covid-19 infections.

The general public should not rush to buy face masks for personal use if they were not needed. The key to preventing infection is through personal hygiene by washing hands and not spitting everywhere, he said.