Terengganu Health director ticked off by people flouting travel ban ahead of Aidiladha

KUALA LUMPUR: News reports on increasing traffic heading to the East Coast states have elicited worry and concern among healthcare workers especially Terengganu Health director Datuk Dr Nor Azimi Yunus.

In a lengthy social media posting titled “Kenapa Begini Sikap Kalian” loosely translated as “Why Do You Have to Act Such A Way” that was shared on her Facebook account, Dr Nor Azimi did not hold back and took to task people who defied the interstate travel ban to return to Terengganu for Hari Raya Aidiladha.

“Have you not learned by the events that occurred during the last (Hari Raya) Aidilfitri season? You were advised to postpone your interstate movement to avoid a surge in (Covid-19) transmission.

“However, (some of) you remain undeterred. You were stubborn. Eventually, the number of cases escalated.

“The upcoming Aidiladha celebration is turning into a similar situation since there are people by the droves travelling interstate to return to their hometown,” she said in the posting.

The posting was accompanied with a screenshot of a report by Bernama TV, which quoted a Tweeter posting by the Malaysian Highway, on traffic congestion along the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway near the Gombak toll plaza heading towards the West or Kuala Lumpur as well as near the Bentong toll plaza heading towards the East (coast) or Kuantan in Pahang.

Terengganu is among the first five states that were allowed to transit into Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) after it achieved its three threshold indicators.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are still under Phase One of the NRP. As of today, interstate as well as inter-district movements, are still prohibited for people residing in states under Phase One and Two of the NRP.

“You are willing to cross the state borders leaving areas with an outbreak and return to areas which outbreak is less severe bringing along the virus to be spread in new areas.

“Do you think, you are not likely to be affected by the Covid-19 infections? There are some quarters among youths who believe that you have a strong immune system and that you will only develop Category 1 (asymptomatic) in which you are subjected to 10-day long quarantine (in the event if they contracted the virus).

“But you forgot that there are groups that require the necessary protection such as senior citizens and children who are at the risk of suffering from serious complications (if they are exposed to the virus),” said Dr Nor Azimi.

Previous episodes that occurred during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration showed that those who managed to travel interstate had engaged in activities such as gatherings, although they were not allowed to do so when they reached their respective hometown.

“Although you were not allowed from doing so, cooking and gathering activities still happened in which all were conducted without the knowledge of the general public.

“Lest you forget, Covid-19 cluster is not silent, in which, all would be exposed as time unfolded.

“If everyone complied with the standard operating procedures (SOP) by not engaging in activities which involved large number of people, how come there were cases of several families contracting the virus at once? Where did the virus originate if the carrier is none other than among you?,” she asked.

Terengganu, said Dr Nor Azimi, had at once managed to maintain daily Covid-19 cases in the two-digit territory. All of that changed no thanks to interstate travel which saw eight new clusters emerge in the state within two weeks.

Apart from the surge in daily new cases, there are clusters with infections that had spread to several other districts.

“There was a cluster involving a tahlil ceremony that was organised for three nights were among the guests included Ustaz and tahfiz students. The event ended with the virus infecting many tahfiz students and several Ustaz’s.

“Do you think we (the healthcare workers) are not affected by such a situation? We are exasperated and hearts have been torn apart seeing such a situation still occuring ,” she said.

Dr Nor Azimi added that the prevalence of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus which is two times more transmissible and able to infect the next person within 15 seconds, should be a reminder to all to postpone any plans to cross state borders for this Hari Raya Aidiladha.

“If you are adamant to travel interstate for the sake of celebrating the Hari Raya (Aidiladha) and eventually emerging as the index case or source for the new cluster, do you still want to blame other people or other quarters?

“Please think and act wisely. Let us protect ourselves and others.

“Unlike the virus which can be transmitted all the people at once, we are not able to administer the Covid-19 vaccines on each of you at one go.” – NST ONLINE

by Adib Povera

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