In Selayang Jaya market, social distancing is a distant understanding (VIDEO)

A view of the queue outside the Selayang Jaya wet market March 28, 2020. — Picture courtesy of Ushar Daniele
A view of the queue outside the Selayang Jaya wet market March 28, 2020. — Picture courtesy of Ushar Daniele

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The Selayang Jaya Market has always been packed, bustling with market-goers and sellers daily.

However, in the current age of mandatory social distancing in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the festive atmosphere in the market continues to thrive, with heavy crowds thronging the area from early in the morning on a daily basis.

Videos and photos sent to Malay Mail by freelance producer and journalist Ushar Daniele showed a large gathering inside the market, with little to no regard for social distancing.

While customers queued outside in a long line, in keeping with the social distancing rule, once inside the market, the scene became the usual market chaos.

“I’ve been observing the market for almost two weeks now. Every morning between 7am to 10am, there’s a line outside. Last Thursday, I called the Gombak district police headquarters (IPD) to complain.

“It was the same situation on Friday. Today, I decided to go and check it out myself, and I was mortified to see the crowd inside the market.

“I’m not against people buying their provisions, but there needs to be some form of crowd control and regulations,” Ushar told Malay Mail.

Last week, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and other security enforcement officers will ensure social distancing is observed at wet markets and hypermarkets, in a heightened bid to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Speaking at a press conference, Ismail said that he is also mulling making it mandatory for all shoppers and outlets to observe social distancing.

Ismail, who is also defence minister, said that he personally observed the lack of social distancing, when he was out shopping for things.

Malaysia is currently observing a strict movement control order (MCO) nationwide, except for those in the essential services sector.

The initial two-week period MCO, as announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, was to end on March 31.

However, the government prolonged the MCO by another two weeks, after the number of Covid-19 cases increased exponentially.

The Health Ministry (MOH) had also predicted a third wave of Covid-19 infections, or what it termed a “tsunami”, if Putrajaya had not implemented the movement control order (MCO) from March 18 to April 14.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a press conference that the wave had been predicted to hit Malaysia three weeks ago, but also admitted that the ministry was blindsided by the mass tabligh gathering at the Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur.

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