KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — The Malaysian-Chinese community is gearing up to welcome the Lunar New Year, but unlike previous years, the festivity this year is set against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although the government has relaxed some control measures for the festival, the Malaysian Society of Infection Control and Infectious Diseases (MyICID) has urged everyone to keep vigilant and ensure the principles of infection prevention is followed accordingly.

Here are some pragmatic precautions listed by MyICID to ensure a safe and joyous Chinese New Year celebrations for everyone:

1. Avoid physical gather, or do it with extra care


The society said physical gathering carries the risk of spreading Covid-19 infection and advised everyone to hold a virtual gathering instead to avoid any risks.

However, if a physical gathering is necessary among different households, MyICID said there are ways to make your reunion dinner safer.

“Discuss with all attendees before the gathering date to explain and manage the expectations and the rules for the gathering.


“If any of the invitees are ill and show symptoms of coughing, fever, sore throat, etc, do not attend the gathering,” it said in a statement.

The society also cautioned that if any of the host members are ill, cancel the gathering.

2. Have a smaller gathering

Chinese New Year is often celebrated with big gatherings but MyICID advised to keep the number of participants to a minimum this year for better compliance with the health and safety protocols.

It said although up to 15 people are allowed for the reunion dinner and gatherings, it’s wise to keep the numbers to a minimum.

3. Ventilation is the key

Ensure your house is well-ventilated when you have guests around, or if possible, consider having the gathering outdoors.

The society said if you plan to receive guests indoors, ensure all the windows are open or use portable air purifiers.

4. Keep the mask on

Although it may not be the most comfortable thing to do during a celebratory gathering, MyICID reminded everyone to keep the mask on when others are around and even tossing yee sang, except when you are eating or drinking.

“Minimise the time you spend without your mask at the dining table and ensure the seats at the dining table are well spaced out.

“Preferably have utensils separated for each dish.”

5. Be socially connected but physically apart

Keep in mind to maintain your physical distance as much as possible — preferably more than one metre apart if wearing a mask and about two metres if not.

6. Don’t forget to wash your hands

Remember to wash your hands with soap and water or sanitise it with alcohol hand rubs before enjoying the festive delights.

Also avid touching your mouth, eyes and nose.