With Covid-19 not yet gone, Health Ministry says worried over number of interstate ‘balik kampung’

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah disclosed that 2,931 vehicles have attempted such manoeuvres to return to their hometowns to spend the festivities with their families in a span of three days. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah disclosed that 2,931 vehicles have attempted such manoeuvres to return to their hometowns to spend the festivities with their families in a span of three days. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The Ministry of Health has today expressed concerns over the number of vehicles attempting to cross interstate borders daily to return to their respective hometowns in the “balik kampung” tradition during the Ramadan and Aidilfitri season.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah disclosed that 2,931 vehicles have attempted such manoeuvres to return to their hometowns to spend the festivities with their families in a span of three days.

“This is definitely worrisome for the ministry especially if it included university students that have gone back to their respective families.

“Their family members may consist of those from the high-risk groups such as elderlies, children and those with lower immunity caused by chronic disease or comorbidity,” he said in his daily Covid-19 press briefing here.

Of the 6,941 Covid-19 cases reported to date, 961 or 13.8 per cent of them comprised the elderly aged 60 and above while children aged 12 and below comprised 318 cases or 4.6 per cent.

Dr Noor Hisham said the standard operating procedure (SOP) stipulated under the movement control order (MCO) and conditional movement control order (CMCO) must be continually maintained, especially in the coming festive period.

“After two months of MCO enforcement followed by the CMCO, we can observe the trend of active Covid-19 cases have gradually gone down.

“This achievement is the result of the public’s compliance to the SOP,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham also urged all students to take note of several university students who disobeyed the mandatory quarantine order imposed on them who were later tested positive for Covid-19.

He said this could pose an infection risk to those highly susceptible such as the elderly, children and individuals with a history of chronic disease if students that returned to their hometown disregarded their home quarantine order.

Earlier today, Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia recorded 47 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 6,941 cases.

In a separate press briefing today, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the police have ordered back 1,175 more vehicles attempting to cross interstate borders to return to their hometown yesterday, despite repeated warnings that it is not allowed.

He said that it is baffling that so many people are still attempting to return home for the festive holidays despite the conditional movement control order which prohibits interstate travel for non-essential reasons.

 

Related Articles