Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci has urged people to keep their masks on when they’re alone in the countryside.
“It is true that in the countryside there are less people around but you wouldn’t know who can come in proximity at any point in time,” she wrote in her Q&A column on Times of Malta.
“One should keep the mask on and limit putting it on and taking it off in order to prevent self-contamination.”
She reiterated that the main scope of wearing a mask is to protect others.
“This is so because we now know that a significant portion of people with coronavirus are asymptomatic,” she said.
“Many have mild or no symptoms and even if someone does develop more severe symptoms they can transmit the virus before those symptoms appear. This means that people can spread the virus to others without even knowing they have it.”
Malta made mask wearing mandatory three weeks ago and around 1,300 people have already been fined for breaching the law. Exceptions exist for “high-intensity” physical exercise but fitness fanatic and TV presenter Claire Agius Ordway has suggested extending exceptions to include solitary walks.
“It’s good if some people feel safer going out for walks with a mask on but I’ve received messages from people with shortness of breath who are losing heart in going out,” she said.
“Who am I to revise the law but perhaps we can think that going out for a walk in the countryside to help yourself is different from being with people? Maybe more people will be encouraged to go out for walks if they’re allowed to remove their masks without fear of getting fined.”