Despite ban on celebrations, MoH detects a dozen Raya clusters involving 470 Covid-positive cases

Family members greet each other at the Bandar Bukit Mahkota-Nilai border on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, May 13, 2021. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Family members greet each other at the Bandar Bukit Mahkota-Nilai border on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, May 13, 2021. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — The Ministry of Health has detected a dozen new clusters linked to the Hari Raya celebrations just 14 days ago, with the numbers expected to rise in the coming weeks.

The Aidilfitri clusters were found in seven states involving 470 cases, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Twitter this evening.

The emergence of these clusters came even as public health authorities had enforced a nationwide movement control order banning Muslims from visiting relatives on the first day of Aidilfitri.

“The numbers are expected to rise and will involve more states,” Dr Noor Hisham warned.

The National Security Council had banned social and family visits for Hari Raya as the entire nation was placed under a third movement control order to stem a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections, which have breached the 7,000 mark yesterday.

The emergence of the Hari Raya clusters would likely come as no surprise to members of the public who have repeatedly alleged weak enforcement of anti-Covid standard operating procedures, pointing to how easy it was for people to cross state borders days before Aidilfitri.

The travel and social visit ban will remain in place until June 7 at least. Muslims in Malaysia typically celebrate Hari Raya for the entire month that follows Ramadan.

Up to 2,400 people linked to the Hari Raya sub-clusters have been screened to date with one death reported, the health D-G said. The deceased is from Selangor, which has so far reported just one Aidilfitri cluster.

Selangor, Pahang, Penang, and Sarawak all reported one Hari Raya cluster each. All the clusters were reported between May 19 and May 25.

Malaysia recorded 7,478 new daily cases as of noon today, a record high. This is the second day the rate of cases is above the 7,000 mark.

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