WITH Hari Raya Aidiladha around the corner, Malaysians and healthcare workers are bracing themselves against the threat of yet another surge of COVID-19 cases.
“People need to resist trying to beat the system, exploit loopholes and deceive themselves and others,” Galen Centre for Health & Social Policy head Azrul Mohd Khalib said.
“Celebrating Aidiladha is not more important than keeping yourself and your family safe from COVID-19.”
Earlier today, Terengganu Health director Dr Nor Azimi Yunus voiced her frustration on those still insisting to travel for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration.
“Have you not learnt any lesson from the Aidilfitri festivities? The Health Ministry advised all of you countless times not to travel to contain COVID-19 but it fell on deaf ears.
“The end result, COVID-19 infection flared up across the country, with the death toll piling up daily. Now, you’re doing the same. Still thronging the highways to spread the virus to new areas,” she said, in a post at the Health Ministry’s official Facebook page.
On that note, Azrul shared on how Malaysia’s COVID-19 fourth wave started, which can be traced back to the beginning of Ramadhan, in mid-April.
Despite warnings from public health experts that even a reduced number of people would present an unnecessary risk; congregational tarawih, regular and Friday prayers were allowed to be held.
As a result, Azrul said the country has seen generations of transmissions which have firmly embedded itself into the population, with an almost consistent rise in new cases since then.
“The possibility of containment has all but vanished. We are still paying the price for what happened then. Let us not repeat the same mistakes for Aidiladha,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Azrul stated that he was alarmed by news that congregational prayers such as regular ones, Friday prayers and even religious talks being permitted in several states.
He debunked arguments that it would be safe to have mosques, suraus and places of worship to be at 70% or 30% of their capacity filled with worshippers, adding the statement was not supported by any scientific evidence.
“These situations are opportunities for contagion,” Azrul concluded. – July 18, 2021.