Calm on eve of lockdown

Barbed wires were put up at the Bukit Mertajam wet market before the market was closed following the detection of Covid-19 involving three traders.– ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

IT was all smooth and calm at wet markets and supermarkets on mainland Penang as Malaysians prepared for a nationwide total lockdown that begins today.

Checks by The Star at several establishments found that there were no great rush or panic-buying among market-goers and shoppers.

At Mydin Mall Bukit Mertajam in Jalan Baru, the hypermarket was seen bustling with shoppers but did not indicate any sign of panic buying despite the impending lockdown.

Pensioner Abu Bakar Abdullah, 63, said he and his wife were doing their monthly groceries and not buying out of fear.

“Last year, when the first movement control order was implemented, I panicked a bit and rushed out with my wife to buy groceries.

“But this time, we have learned from our past mistakes.

“I’m confident that the supply of groceries is sufficient and it is high time the government implemented a nationwide lockdown before things go out of control, ” he said when met at the hypermarket yesterday.

Another shopper, Dzuraidy Dzulkifli, 44, said he did not feel that the public should be worried about the supply of groceries as the government had done everything it could during the period.

“No need to be too panicked as we still have sufficient supply so far.

“Even if the government extends the lockdown period, I don’t think that there will be a shortage of essential items.”

Meanwhile, at the Bukit Mertajam public market, it was quiet in the morning yesterday as market-goers carried out their chores of buying fresh items under the watchful eyes of Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) enforcement personnel on duty.

However, once the day’s business was over, the market was barricaded and closed until June 8 after three traders were found to be Covid-19 positive.MBSP mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said sanitisation work and contact tracing at the market would be carried out during this period.

He urged traders, identified as close contacts, to call the district health department at 04-5397884 for swab test appointments.

Poultry trader Nurhafidzin Jamil, 31, lauded the authorities’ swift action in closing the market after there were positive cases in the market.

“Luckily, they detected it early. If not, the virus can spread further and this can cause harm to all of us and the public, ” he said.

Nurhafidzin, however, hoped that the closure order would not be extended so that the traders could return to the market as soon as possible.

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