THE Masjid India area has turned into a ghost town after it was placed under enhanced movement control order (MCO) starting Tuesday.
A check on the area revealed that the situation was quiet with hardly anyone in sight and all businesses closed.
Premises along Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Jalan Dang Wangi, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Ampang and Jalan Melaka were also off limits, as more than 126 people in the area have tested positive for Covid-19.
Three buildings in the area — Menara City One condominium, Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion, with over 9,000 residents — had previously been placed under the enhanced order.
This brings to five the areas in the country that are facing added restrictions since the MCO came into effect on March 18.
The areas under enhanced MCO are Simpang Renggam (Johor), Sungai Lui (Selangor), and Menara City One, Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion in Kuala Lumpur.
But the enhanced MCO in Kampung Sungai Lui, which took effect on March 29, has been lifted, with two exceptions: Maahad Tahfiz An-Nabawiyyah and a house in Batu 23, Kampung Paya Lebar, where the order has been extended until April 28.
Delivery made difficult
Residents in all affected areas are barred from leaving their homes, even for essentials, and all shops are closed.
In Masjid India, the four main roads into the area have been cordoned off with barbed wire and yellow tape with at least a pair of police and National Security Council (NSC) personnel stationed at each point to keep watch for lawbreakers.
Delivery services for gas cylinders, food and other goods have to seek clearance from the police barricade between Menara City One and Dang Wangi Police Headquarters to enter the vicinity.
According to a police officer stationed there, only essential items were allowed to be delivered and it would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
However, there was some confusion among delivery personnel trying to send food to those in affected premises.
Many were not allowed to enter the vicinity, forcing them to rely on a middleman, usually a security guard at the building, to deliver the food.
Several food delivery workers were seen loitering by the roadside near the buildings, having long discussions over the phone with their customers about how to deliver the food.
“It is quite different this time, usually the residents will just come down and take the food.
“It is my first time delivering to the Maytower Hotel and Serviced Apartment in Jalan Munshi Abdullah that has been affected by the enhanced MCO and I do not know how to go about it.
“So, I have to pass the food to the security guard who came to the roadside to collect on behalf of the residents, ” said 21-year-old Grab food rider Afiq Syazwan.
A postman who came to deliver letters and packages faced the same problem.
He had to get clearance and advice from police and NSC officers on sending items to the area.
Yesterday, a group of medical personnel from Lembah Pantai District Health Office entered the Maytower building with two officers dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE).
Health officers on site refused to speak to reporters.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan has asked city folk to be patient and remain positive during this challenging time.
“We must remain positive and have faith that things will get better even though it looks bad now; but I promise you things will get better, ” he said.
“I want everyone in Kuala Lumpur, the residents, businesses and foreign community to follow the standard operating procedure and Health Ministry guidelines to equip themselves with personal protective equipment when necessary, and please stay at home during the restriction, ” he said.
Nor Hisham also advised residents to spend time reading and encouraged parents to get their children into the habit. Coincidentally, Kuala Lumpur was named World Book Capital for 2020 by Unesco in 2018.
As part of the event, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) was supposed to host a series of events in April aimed at reviving the reading culture among citizens.
“We can still celebrate by reading. Get your children to read and share their books and what they learnt from it in our Facebook page or tweet about it, ” he added.