Tens of thousands are thronging beaches and other holiday destinations outside the cities despite repeated warnings to avoid non-critical travel over fears of Covid-19, as many Malaysians mark the end of a challenging year which saw daily life and businesses ravaged around the world.
The increased mobility has been a trend since early this month, when authorities decided to end a ban on interstate travel even as the daily infection rate continued.
Throughout the Christmas season, the Malaysian Highway Authority which reports conditions on all tolled highways has been reporting slow traffic on major interstate routes.
That trend is expected to continue all the way into January, as many families take advantage of the little window of travel freedom they have after a year filled with movement restrictions and the closures of schools, malls and public attractions.
Experts say they will not be surprised if a spike in infections occurs after a long weekend.
“The scenario of a post-holiday spike is expected regardless of the occasion,” Dr Steven Chow, who heads the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Associations, told MalaysiaNow.