Dr Mahathir: Refrain from Raya gathering to avoid Covid infection

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIANS must refrain from visiting families and friends during Aidilfitri celebrations this week, as it could worsen the Covid-19 crisis, said former Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture).

Dr Mahathir said the situation of Covid-19 cases is already alarming, and if more gatherings are to be held, the authorities may not be able to handle the massive number of patients.

“There is no need for us to visit the homes of friends and relatives. Because that’s not a good visit as maybe we’ll get infected or they’ll get infected. We need to be patient in this year’s celebration because we want to see this disease reduced by our actions,” he said in a special address held online yesterday.

Malaysia reported 3,807 new positive cases yesterday, while total deaths rose to 1,700.

Health DG Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah had warned that the spike in infections will be out of control as Covid-19 wards at the health facilities are almost full.

Dr Mahathir appealed for the public to be more moderate in celebrating Aidilfitri and avoid any gathering.

“I was informed that the equipment to treat Covid-19 patients at the hospital is also scarce now due to the huge number of daily transmissions,” he added.

“I admitted that it is hard to follow physical distancing, but this is the only way that we can be safe and avoid transmitting the virus to others,” the Langkawi MP said.

Last year, the Aidilfitri celebrations were also restricted with visits only allowed during the first day, while the public was not allowed to make interstate movement for Aidilfitri visits and the gathering should not exceed 20 people.

Daily cases only range around 100 to 200 at that time. This year, the virus yet again caused Aidilfitri to lose its lustre, as the government has again banned all interstate and inter-district movement without permission from the police starting yesterday.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir also urged the public to register for vaccination and get inoculated as soon as possible.

“Although it is true that we may not be 100% safe, at least we are 90% protected with the vaccine,” he added.

On the economic concerns, Dr Mahathir, who brought the country escape from the financial crisis in 1998, said the government must lend some help for the affected businesses when implementing the Movement Control Order to ease their burden.