ALOR STAR: Kedahans are calling for stern action against those flouting mandatory quarantines as the state plunges deeper into a second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Kedah, one of the few states to have achieved green zone status only weeks ago, now has 114 cases, with 11 discovered within the past 72 hours. The state had gone through 60 days without any reported infections until last month.
The new cases are from the Sivagangga cluster, concentrated in Jitra in the Kubang Pasu district. It started with a nasi kandar outlet owner returning from India with the infection.
He flouted home quarantine and in the process infected his family and then his employees.
Four localities have now been placed under an enhanced movement control order. Five public schools have also been ordered to close until the end of the month.
Agricultural activities in the state, known as the “Rice Bowl” of Malaysia, have also been reduced.
A Health Department spokesman said about 30,000 residents, including farmers, will be directly or indirectly affected by the new outbreak.
Azman Yusoff, a committee member of the Kedah Malay Chamber of Commerce, said authorities should enforce harsher penalties on those who flout quarantine rules.
“People have become complacent after being allowed to go out during the recovery movement control order,” he told theSun yesterday.
Deputy Speaker of the state assembly Datuk Juhari Bulat said Kedahans must work together to prevent a new wave of infections.
“If it worsens, Langkawi may have to revert to its previous policy of banning inbound travellers until the curve of infections is flattened.”
Langkawi Business Association deputy president Datuk Issac Alexander said the blame should be put squarely on those who flout home quarantine.
“Just because of a few individuals, all Malaysians must now be placed in designated quarantine centres when they return home from abroad,” he said.
“It’s a lesson for us not to be (irresponsible).”
He added that a campaign to encourage the use of face masks is essential.
“People are confused on when or how to wear face masks. We cannot afford another lockdown. It will ruin the economy.”
Perlis also recorded a case on Tuesday, leaving Penang as the only green zone in the country.
A state is declared a green zone after 14 days without any new infections.
Read this story in theSun’s iPaper:
Call for heavier action against quarantine breakers