Allowing 20 to gather not a good idea
Published on: Tuesday, May 26, 2020
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I REFER to the government’s decision to allow up to 20 people, limited only to family members, to celebrate the first day of Eid, Pesta Kaamatan and Gawai.

Some are overjoyed to have the chance to meet family members whom they have not seen or met since the first movement control order (MCO) on March 18 but there are many people who are gravely concerned about the repercussions theses gathering would have.

This fear may have been been made worse by the recent report by Bahrain’s Ministry of Health of 16 family members in Bahrain contracting the coronavirus from one infected relative during a Ramadan iftar gathering. Members of the family did not comply with precautionary measures including avoiding large gatherings, wearing face masks and social distancing.

Medical specialists have expressed concern over the decision to allow small gatherings under the conditional MCO.

The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM) has cautioned that allowing gatherings of even 20 people could undo the progress Malaysians have made in the battle against Covid-19 and called for a review of this policy; reminding the government of “the immense difficulties and massive resources needed to do contact tracing”.

An excessive relaxation of restrictions will potentially reverse hard-won victories achieved through the sacrifices of the rakyat and front-liners.

In appealing to the government to review its policy on gatherings, AMM proposed that face-to-face celebrations should be restricted to family members living in the same house.

Health adviser to the prime minister Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood had in a tweet asked whether the MCO should be again enforced to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The government should review its decision to allow 20 people to gather in one house for festive celebrations.

Sheriffah Noor Khamseah Al-Idid Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid


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