Medical Experts Want MCO Extended Over Hari Raya

The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia highlights the risk of spreading coronavirus during a “balik kampung” exodus.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — Medical experts today called for an extension of the nationwide lockdown over Hari Raya next month, urging a ban on non-essential interstate travel during holidays.

The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia also noted that other celebrations like Hari Gawai and Harvest Festival would follow soon after Hari Raya Aidil Fitri that is expected to fall on May 24.

“Whilst it is understandable that many wish to travel to spend time with their loved ones during Ramadan and Aidil Fitri, we need to remember that events of this year are unprecedented,” the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia said in a statement.

“The risks of spreading the virus particularly to the elderly, in the case of a ‘balik kampung’ exodus are very real. Risks associated with crowding at R&R stations and hence failure of social distancing by travellers during this exodus and their subsequent return to urban areas will also need to be taken into consideration.

“Responsible behaviour in adhering to social distancing measures is required of everyone until a vaccine is made available. For this year at least, be it Ramadhan, Aidil Fitri or even Haj gatherings – there is a need for control, monitoring and possible banning of these gatherings.”

The medical specialist body urged the government to tackle socio-economic repercussions of the Covid-19 epidemic in Malaysia, given the need to prolong the Movement Control Order (MCO) beyond April 14.

The coronavirus outbreak has infected over 4,100 people in Malaysia as of yesterday and killed 65, including two foreign nationals.

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