KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — With Hari Raya Aidiladha around the corner, Malaysians must refrain from crossing states to celebrate the festival to ensure Covid-19 does not spread further within the community, a health expert reminded today.
Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy head Azrul Mohd Khalib pointed out that it would be a bad time to be complacent and jeopardise all that has been achieved to date, despite the excellent progress made through the ongoing vaccination programme.
He pointed out that the ongoing fourth wave of the Covid-19 epidemic could be traced back to the beginning of Ramadan around mid-April this year, where social gatherings were permitted to be held despite warnings from public health experts that even a reduced number of people would present an unnecessary risk.
“As a consequence, we have seen generations of transmissions which have firmly embedded themselves into the population and almost consistent growth in newly reported cases since then.
“The possibility of containment has all but vanished. We are still paying the price for what happened then.
“This Hari Raya Aidiladha, let us not repeat the same mistakes,” he said in a statement here.
He then stressed that whether the epidemic worsened or improved depended on individual behaviour and cooperation, not roadblocks or spot-checks set up by the authorities.
Azrul’s remark follows a similar reminder by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in advising Malaysians of the importance of following pandemic standard operating procedures (SOP) to prevent another surge in Covid-19 cases.
Dr Noor Hisham had pointed out the explosion of clusters that formed as a result of cross-border travel in the past one-and-a-half months. Between June 1 and July 16, Health Ministry data showed 1,010 cases from 21 clusters.
He reminded Malaysians of a similar surge in May following two major festivals — Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai.