Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Raya set to be under lockdown again as cases spike

Eateries and schools are expected to close beginning tomorrow in states where case numbers have been climbing over past weeks.

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The celebration of Hari Raya which is just 10 days away will be under more strict movement control order (MCO) rules, as authorities prepare to impose the third phase of the lockdown to arrest a spike in daily Covid-19 cases, MalaysiaNow has learnt.

A source said eateries and schools will be closed in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Johor and Sarawak beginning tomorrow, in a move reminiscent of the MCO imposed earlier this year before it was eased to allow the resumption of almost all activities.

But with daily case numbers hovering in the 3,000 zone over the past week as thousands flock to department stores and malls for Hari Raya shopping, authorities have been left with no choice but to impose a stricter lockdown that would see festivities limited to close family members.

There was an increase of at least 25% in daily cases over the last week of April compared to the week before, prompting appeals from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the public to adhere to health SOPs.

Checks by MalaysiaNow earlier showed poor compliance with SOPs in places attracting crowds in the run-up to Hari Raya, despite some business owners making regular announcements through loudspeakers to remind customers to keep a safe distance from each other.

Such crowds were not seen during the last Ramadan, when bazaars, textile outlets and department stores were deserted under the first phase of the MCO when businesses were ordered to shut for some three months.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said authorities would revisit the current MCO in states reporting high numbers of cases in recent days.

“This reassessment is important to ensure the SOPs in force and the actions taken are effective to curb the spread of Covid-19 which has been on the rise in the country and globally,” he said.

Many schools and Ramadan bazaars across the country have already been shut down amid reports of new clusters, and authorities are likely to extend the ban to other activities under the next MCO, including social and religious gatherings which are the hallmark of Hari Raya celebrations.

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