Last week’s headlines — low new cases, high arrests, illegal deliveries

Malaysians’ adhering to the practice of social distancing has helped keep infection cases under control, says Health DG

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

LAST week, news headlines in the country continued to be dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO).

Malaysia saw a double-digit number of new Covid-19 positive cases for the first time last Wednesday with 85 cases, a new record low which was broken last Friday with 69 new cases and again the next day with 54 cases.

On Saturday, Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also announced that 135 patients were discharged, bringing the total recovered cases to 3,102 (at press time) and two fatalities, totalling 88 (at press time).

Dr Noor Hisham attributed the low numbers of new cases to the implementation of the MCO where Malaysians’ practice of social distancing has helped keep the infection cases under control and further eased medical personnel in carrying out mass testing in selected areas.

However, he warned Malaysians against getting complacent about the declining numbers as the war against the coronavirus is not yet over.

“Even though it is a positive development, people must continue to stay home, practise social distancing of at least one metre and observe a high level of hygiene such as washing their hands often with soap and water,” he said in his daily briefing on Saturday.

Dr Noor Hisham had also made the nation proud when China Global Television Network (CGTN) listed him as one of the world’s top three doctors for his efforts in handling Malaysia’s Covid-19 crisis.

On its website, CGTN stated that Dr Noor Hisham has become the most “trustable” source of information and facts for the pandemic in Malaysia.

Joining the list are US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr Anthony Fauci and New Zealand’s Health DG Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Dr Noor Hisham further captured Malaysians’ hearts when an exchange of letters between him and a young fan, Year Three pupil Lara Khadijah McAfee from Terengganu, went viral last Friday. Meanwhile, MCO offenders have been on the rise.

The police had detained around 15,000 individuals to date, with a total of 3,627 arrests made during Phase 1 and 11,295 during Phase 2.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed stressed that they will no longer compromise offenders and that the police will not be issuing compounds anymore as they will readily arrest and charge the lawbreakers in court during Phase 3.

In Perak, three men were recently sentenced to three days in jail and fined RM1,000 each in default of two months’ imprisonment for playing golf.

Magistrate Nazratul Natrah Mohd Yusof said the men are educated individuals who understand the law. They have since pleaded guilty.

On Saturday, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and Perak executive councillor Razman Zakaria were seen in viral pictures enjoying a meal with about 30 others, including students, at a tahfiz school.

Razman had since apologised, while Perak police chief Datuk Razarudin Husain said all those identified in the pictures, including the deputy minister, would be investigated.

On another note, reports of food delivery riders transporting illegal items like drugs and ketum juice have also been making headlines.

In Kuala Lumpur, a 31-year-old rider lodged a police report after he discovered drugs inside the packet of food which he was supposed to deliver from Petaling Jaya to Setapak.

In a separate incident a few days before, two riders were nabbed by the police in Cheras and Putrajaya, after they were caught possessing ketum juice.

The police initiated spot checks on delivery riders after one of them had carelessly bragged about smug- gling cigarettes on social media earlier in the MCO period.