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Seven held for defying MCO

27 Mar 2020 / 08:20 H.

GEORGE TOWN: Seven men, including a jogger, were detained by police for contravening the movement control order (MCO) that is in force.

They allegedly defied the cops by insisting on playing football and exercising in a recreational ground.

The suspects, aged between 23 and 56, will be produced in court for a remand application after they disobeyed a police directive to disperse.

Instead they continued playing at a field along Jalan D. S. Ramanathan, here.

The eldest of the suspects jogging in the grounds near the Adventist Hospital despite warnings by police to stay home yesterday.

The MCO is now into its 10th day with 19 more days to come as Malaysia joins almost the rest of the world in adopting strict social distancing to flatten the curve of the dreaded Covid-19 outbreak which has claimed 24 lives including one in Penang so far.

Northeast district police head ACP Soffian Santong, who confirmed the arrest to the media, said officers were patrolling the area when they chanced upon the men carrying out such activities at the field.

Under the MCO, the cops are empowered to detain anybody on grounds that their presence can lead to the spread of an infectious disease, said Soffian.

The suspects can be fined not more than RM1,000 or jailed for not more than six months or both for defying the MCO.

Meanwhile, during live social media exchanges, several elected representatives stressed on the need for people to cooperate fully with the hope of reducing the infection rate of Covid-19 here.

Among those lending their voices to staying home at least until April 14 were Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim Chee Keong, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit and Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Zairil Khir Johari.

Zairil also urged market goers to respect the guidelines imposed by the local authorities when at crowded places such as wet markets; to don face masks, keep social distancing and follow the proper entry and exit routes.

He also urged them to use hand sanitisers frequently to reduce the transmission rate of the virus and to disinfect their homes.

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