KUALA LUMPUR: Ramadan bazaars will be allowed to operate during the fasting month provided that vendors and customers adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP), such as safe distancing and crowd control.
Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press conference on Tuesday (Mar 31) that as long as precautionary measures are taken, it is advisable for these bazaars to continue.
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“The most important thing is to practise safe distancing. All the precautionary measures should be taken. Crowd control is important, so I think we need to look into the implementation of the whole thing.
“As long as they can follow the SOP, avoid contact and maintain good spacing as well as provide hand washing (facilities), we will advise them on what to do and what not to do,” he said.
Asked if it is advisable to allow Ramadan bazaars to be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Noor Hisham said: “Yes it is advisable. Just like pasar tani (agricultural market) and other markets. Just follow good spacing and no contact.”
Ramadan is expected to start on Apr 23, about 10 days after the completion of the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO).
The MCO was initially supposed to take place for two weeks from Mar 18 to Mar 31. It was later extended by another two weeks until Apr 14.
READ: Malaysia arrests hundreds for flouting curbs on movement as COVID-19 deaths rise
As per the order, Malaysians are not allowed to leave their homes unless necessary and only essential services are allowed to operate.
Offenders would either be subject to a fine of up to RM1,000 or a jail term of not more than six months, or both.
Earlier on Tuesday, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said it was up to Malaysians to ensure that the MCO does not go into a third phase.
He added that 742 individuals were arrested on Monday alone for breaching the MCO. Since the order took effect, 156 people have been charged in court and six of them have already been sentenced to either fines or jail terms.
SIX MORE DEATHS RECORDED
As of Tuesday noon, 140 more people tested positive to COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 2,766.
A total of 94 patients are being treated in intensive care unit, and 60 of whom require respiratory support.
READ: Missing the little things – What life is like under Malaysia’s movement control order
“An additional 58 recoveries were recorded today, making the total number of recoveries 537, which is 19.4 per cent of the total positive cases,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
Separately he also announced six new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 43.
Of the six, one is a 41-year old Indonesian who was diagnosed in Sarawak. He is the first foreigner to die in Malaysia from COVID-19.
The others included a 48-year old woman with high blood pressure and an 81-year old man with a heart condition.
The director-general, in the press conference, also told reporters that a manufacturer in Penang is currently producing COVID-19 test kits which are able to produce results in 30 minutes.
READ: Some Malaysians brace for two weeks of no income as movement control order disrupts daily activities
“But because they have a contract with the United States, we are looking at how we too can use this high tech equipment at our medical facilities here,” he said.
Currently, it takes one to two days before the test result could be provided.
As of Sunday, a total of 35,316 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Malaysia.
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