The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announces upcoming adjustments to the local mask-wearing guidelines after drawing reference from national and international guidelines on the prevention and control of COVID-19 and other respiratory infectious diseases. Starting from 28 April, the mask-wearing rules will be divided into three categories depending on the situations: 1. Situations where masks are required; 2. Situation where masks are recommended; 3. Situations where masks are not required. It should be noted that individuals and institutions must comply with the requirements related to situations where masks are required; however, under the situations where masks are recommended, individuals can decide whether or not to use a mask if no requirement is made by the institutions.
1. Masks are required in these situations:
When the person develops influenza-like symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, sore throat, cough and runny nose; When the person tests positive in an antigen test or a nucleic acid test for COVID-19; In workplaces, creches or non-tertiary educational institutions where a cluster of influenza-like cases has been detected; In medical institutions (except for inpatients), elderly care homes and rehabilitation homes (except for residents of the homes); In other situations as determined by the competent authorities according to the epidemic situation.
2. Masks are recommended in these situations:
For drivers and passengers of public transport; In crowded places for those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 and/or influenza, such as the elderly, persons with chronic diseases and pregnant women, especially when there is a high level of COVID-19 or influenza transmission; At large-scale gathering activities or meetings, especially when there is a wide source or high mobility of participants; In other indoor venues and transport.
In these situations, the supervisory entities of the venues or transport may decide whether or not to require entrants to wear a mask based on the epidemic situation, air circulation in the space, the number and density of the crowd, as well as the nature and duration of activities.
3. Masks are not required in these situations:
In outdoor places; Where wearing a mask may cause difficulty breathing; For persons aged 3 years or under; When eating or drinking, or undergoing relevant medical procedures or facial treatments; For staff staying or resting within non-service user areas of such premises where masks are required.
The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre stresses that the mask-wearing requirements will be adjusted according to the actual situation. Members of the public should carry face masks with them when going out, so that they can use it when necessary. The public should also have two weeks’ supply of masks or more at home to prepare for the peak season of COVID-19 and other respiratory infectious diseases.
Elderly people and people with chronic underlying diseases should seek timely medical treatment if infected with COVID-19 or other respiratory infectious diseases. They may not have severe symptoms in the early stage but the condition may get worse after a few days. To reduce the risk of infection, members of the public should:
- Receive influenza and COVID-19 vaccines and relevant booster doses;
- Maintain good personal hygiene, wear masks as required, and wash hands frequently;
- Ensure adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise;
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, put used tissues in a covered trash can and wash hands as soon as possible; if no tissue is available, cover mouth and nose with an elbow instead of the palms;
- Maintain air circulation and good environmental hygiene;
- Immunocompromised individuals, such as the elderly and people with chronic underlying diseases, should avoid staying in crowded places and wear a mask whenever necessary;
- If you have fever, muscle pain, sore throat, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis or other symptoms, put on a mask, seek medical attention promptly and stay home for rest.
In the event of fever, muscle pain, sore throat, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis or other suspected COVID-19 symptoms, one should perform a rapid antigen test (RAT) by themselves or go to a medical institution for a nucleic acid test (NAT). Those who have completed a rapid antigen test (RAT) are encouraged to report their result on the designated declaration platform ( https://app.ssm.gov.mo/generalrat ) to keep record of their own infection status and facilitate the on-going epidemic surveillance of the authorities.