FEDERAL Territories Minister Annuar Musa’s plan to allow Ramadan bazaars, even with better crowd control, has not been well received on social media amid fears it would lead to more Covid-19 infections.
Terengganu and Negri Sembilan have announced the scrapping of Ramadan bazars, with Terengganu planning an online platform for vendors to sell breaking of fast delicacies instead.
However, Annuar today said “the needs of urban folk who do not have time to cook” had to be considered.
Hence, he said Ramadan bazaars in the Federal Territories could be held with a limited number of stalls spaced apart to enable social distancing.
“Good luck to all Malaysians! Our wise politicians making wise decisions during (a) global pandemic!” said Twitter user @Esteban76986872.
Others urged the minister to reconsider for the sake of “flattening the curve”, in reference to bringing down the number of Covid-19 infections.
“You are putting citizens at risk,” tweeted @IreneCReynolds1.
Nazri Hussin tweeted that intentions to conduct crowd control will be difficult to achieve. “So best is you say No at the moment,” he said.
Others called the Annuar’s announcement “unwise”. Twitter user @_huddin_ said Ramadan bazaars are unnecessary, adding “Are bazaars so important? You can’t fast if there are no bazaars?
Others like Hasbul Hadi said people should remember the true purpose of Ramadan, which is to fast, and not feast.
“The aim of Ramadan is to fast…not for bazaar/berbuka dengan kawan (break fast with friends).
“Maybe Covid-19 is here to remind us of our niat (intentions) and the true meaning of Ramadan.”
Many have also taken to Twitter to say how much they will miss the Ramadan bazaars if the movement control order is extended beyond April 14.
The fasting month begins on April 23 and Ramadan bazaars, where vendors sell an array of delicacies every evening, is a highlight for many Muslims. It also draws non-Muslim customers.
Authorities have warned that the MCO could be extended if Covid-19 infections continue to increase. THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
Ramadan bazaars still possible if MOH guidelines followed – DG
Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Ramadan bazaars may still be allowed to operate as long as they are able to follow the ministry’s standard operating procedure (SOP) in preventing Covid-19 transmission.
“More important is to practice safe distancing and all precautions taken, good hygiene.
“Control is important to avoid crowded places. Basically we need to look into implementation.
“As long as they can follow our SOP to avoid contact and have good spacing and hand washing and control the whole area,” Hisham (above) said.
He had also said the management of Ramadan bazaars in the Federal Territories will be modified this year to prevent crowd congestion.
Noor Hisham also gave on update on Malaysia’s testing capacity per day, saying it has now increased to 11,750 tests a day.
They are now running tests in about 46 laboratories and the director-general said his goal is to reach 16,500 tests a day.
All this must be done using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique which detects the antigen and not just the antibodies.
“We are (also) seeing two new methods that is the rapid test kits (RTK) from South Korea which looks at antigen, and if the accuracy to detect (the disease) is good, we will make another 200,000 orders,” he said. – MKINI
Returning Malaysians will be quarantined from April 3, says minister
MALAYSIANS returning from overseas from April 3 will be sent to Putrajaya’s Covid-19 quarantine centres for 14 days, said Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“As we want to stop this outbreak, the National Security Council (NSC) has decided that all those who return from overseas will be quarantined for 14 days in special quarantine centres.
“They will be sent to the quarantine centres by bus when they land at airports. Once there, they will be screened by the Health Ministry,” the defence minister told reporters at NSC’s daily press briefing in Putrajaya today.
“We advise families not to go to the airport to meet them as they will be taken to the quarantine centres immediately,” he said.
“Although Wuhan is under control, (China) is seeing more cases due to citizens returning to the country.
“We know many Malaysians are still stranded in other countries. And, while we have advised them to stay put, some still want to come back,” said Ismail Sabri.
He said the new protocol will begin on Friday as the government is still arranging for buses and preparing the quarantine centres.
Meanwhile, the government will begin tightening the movement control order (MCO) tomorrow.
“There were 742 arrests at roadblocks and patrols yesterday, compared with the earlier 848. A total of 165 were charged, with six receiving fines or jail terms.
“I hope this trend continues and number of arrests go down. People need to be aware that they need to follow instructions and orders,” Ismail Sabri said.
According to the defence minister, the police and army conducted 1,547 road blocks and inspected 383,488 cars yesterday.
The joint operation also conducted 20,586 surprise checks.
“I hope everyone is aware that the MCO is serious and must be obeyed,” said Ismail Sabri. THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / MKINI