KUALA LUMPUR: Several warnings have been issued by the authorities that the interstate travel ban is still in force to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, many have stubbornly ignored this warning by cooking up all sorts of excuses to return to their hometowns, especially for the upcoming Aidilfitri celebrations.
According to statistics, on Tuesday, the drivers of 3,212 vehicles were caught attempting to cut across the state lines to ‘balik kampung’ (return to hometown) and ordered to turn around by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has once again reminded the public that interstate travel was still prohibited except for emergency cases or work purposes which need to be approved by the police.
It is undeniably difficult for single people living in the city to celebrate Aidilfitri away from the loved ones, while parents in the village have to spend the holidays without their children and grandchildren.
However, sacrifices have to be made to ensure the country is free from the COVID-19 pandemic as no effective vaccine has so far been developed.
Meanwhile, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has expressed concern over the possibility of a new outbreak which would lead to the rise of the COVID-19 positive cases after the Aidilfitri celebrations, if the public do not comply with the interstate travel ban.
“If possible, don’t ‘balik kampung’, stay at home and celebrate Aidilfitri in private and avoid visiting each other.
The case of a pregnant woman, who travelled all the way from a red zone in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur to her hometown in a green zone in Kelantan as she wanted to give birth in the state, only to be tested positive for COVID-19 there, should serve as a lesson so that nobody repeats the mistake.
Dr Noor Hisham said the Ministry of Health is currently detecting the woman’s close contacts.