Delta variant subdues Aidiladha celebration


MALAYSIA will be celebrating a sombre Hari Raya Aidiladha tomorrow.

Putra Business School Assoc Prof Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff said despite the Enhanced Movement Control Order having been lifted for all 34 Selangor subdistricts, Aidiladha celebration will remain subdued following the country’s record of more than 10,000 Covid-19 daily new cases for several days.

This, coupled with the emergence of the Delta variant, has discouraged people from going out to shop for clothes or other items for the celebration.

Ahmed Razman said people will be more careful with how they celebrate Aidiladha, as many are aware that the Delta variant can infect someone in just mere seconds and that the virus is airborne.

“I think some states’ move in banning house-to-house visits and cemetery visits is the right thing to do since these could lead to new clusters.

“However, I think it is fair to allow animal sacrificial rites to proceed with stricter standard operating procedures (SOPs) as there are the poor and affected groups who will benefit from the meat distribution,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

From healthcare point of view, Osel Group chief clinical and innovative scientist Dr Kris See emphasised that people should adhere to strict SOPs while celebrating Aidiladha, as it is still the most direct and effective way to protect themselves.

He noted that with many sporadic cases and the Delta variant now, people should work towards preparing for Covid-19 to be endemic, hence learning to live and cope with it is the new norm we should look forward to.

“The general consensus on the ground is that people are feeling fatigued from the constant battle not just with Covid-19, but also with the changing SOPs.

“Judging from the past two weeks’ infection trend, it would not be wise right now for the government to relax SOPs on the lockdown.

“However, we should now look forward and perhaps think of relaxing the SOPs when we achieve a high enough percentage of the vaccinated population, instead of judging from the number of infected cases,” he told TMR.

Dr See said if people could just adhere to the current SOPs, it should suffice and the government would not have to further tighten them as balancing lives and livelihoods is the key measure.

On the contrary, he said the country should speed up its rate of vaccination with whatever it has on-hand, subject to each individual’s conditions and medical advice, instead of worrying about the type or brand of vaccines.

“Vaccination offers hope and allows us to open up our sectors quicker and safer, however, it is also not the absolute way.

“We must remain adaptive, resolute, preventive and effective in our way of coping with the evolving virus,” he added.

Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reminded the public not to cross districts or states in conjunction with the Aidiladha celebration as the entire country is still in Phases 1 or 2 of the National Recovery Plan.

He noted that the number of Covid-19 cases that peaked after Aidilfitri should serve as a lesson for Aidiladha this year.

Ismail Sabri said although the SOPs do not allow interstate and inter-district travel, there will still be many who secretly travel using jalan tikus or hidden routes.

He warned that people may be good at evading the roadblocks, but they may not evade the disease.

On Saturday, several news portals reported that between 3% and 5% additional out-of-state motorists had entered Kelantan since last Friday despite repeated warnings not to return home for the Aidiladha celebration.

State deputy police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Abdullah Mohamad Piah was quoted as saying that the motorists entered the state via the Jeli district from northern states such as Perlis and Kedah.

Meanwhile, in Perlis, Raja Muda Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail said individuals from outside the state are not allowed to take part in Aidiladha prayers regardless whether they travelled interstate with or without permission.