RESIDENTS of 13 localities in Bayan Lepas, Penang, which is placed under enhanced movement control order (MCO) from today until June 17, are preparing themselves for strict movement restriction.
The enhanced MCO was imposed after 83 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the area in the last two weeks. The total number of positive cases has exceeded 250.
Residents alarmed by the spike in cases have been stocking up on household essentials.
Retiree Din Ismail, 66, who lives at the Bayu Nyaman flats, said he and his wife had stocked up food to last two weeks.
“There are eight people in my house including my children and grandchildren, as such we are not taking any chances.
“While one person from every household can go out to buy, my children are working and I can’t be running around all the time, ” he lamented.
Din, who runs a coffee stall below his flats, said in the past year, people had undergone several MCOs and were ready to face any eventualities.
Resident Jaan Sajkhan Abdul Kadir, 42, is however concerned for his 64-year-old mother who has to go for her kidney dialysis.
“I take her to the dialysis centre three times a week and I am worried if it will be possible for me to do so during the enhanced MCO, ” he said.
Jaan who does house renovations, said his business was badly affected due to the lockdown and enhanced MCO.
Ramli Khamis who sells seafood beside a mini market at the Sri Bayu Apartments, is worried whether his suppliers could come to the area to deliver the seafood products.
“There is no clear picture how the enhanced MCO is going to affect our business, but I will somehow carry on as it is a matter of survival, ” he said.
Rohana Idris, 42, and her daughter who was seen carrying several bags of fresh and dry food and vegetables, said the provisions were for her family for the next two weeks as she cannot travel to her workplace in Bayan Lepas due to the enhanced MCO.
Housewife M. Santhi, 55, and her husband N. Krishnamoorthy, 60, said they started stocking up food after hearing about the high number of cases in the area.
“There used to be a famous pasar malam right at the back of our house every Saturday, but it has not been operating for several weeks now.
“We had a hunch that the place would come under enhanced MCO and we are not going to go out but stay indoors as it is the best and safest thing to do, ” said Santhi.
Bayan Lepas assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz was spotted busy making his rounds around the area and helping distribute food packets to affected residents.
Azrul said it was a shock to the people when the imam of the Masjid Alhidayah in Bayan Lepas, Ramli Ismail, 67, passed away yesterday morning at Penang Hospital after contracting Covid-19.
It was earlier reported that the mosque caretaker, also 67, collapsed and died on May 22 while seeking treatment for fever at the neighbourhood clinic.
The man, who was single, was living with his family but was said to have had a fever before Hari Raya Aidilfitri. He was unaware that he had contracted Covid-19.
Widely shared photos of health personnel in full personal protective gear removing the body and sanitising the clinic had caused a stir in social media.
Meanwhile, Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said he was disturbed by reports of many factory workers moving out from the area before the enhanced MCO came into effect.
“I heard some factories were taking out and putting their workers in different districts, enabling them to report for work as usual.
“This should not happen, as people in this area are not allowed to move and I am waiting for feedback from the police, ” he said.
The affected areas under the enhanced MCO are Kampung Bukit, Kampung Perlis, Kampung Masjid, Jalan Mahkamah, Kampung Pak Lah, Lebuh Kampung Bukit Sri Bayu, Bayan Tiara, Halaman Murni, Bayan Permai, Bayan Tiara and Taman Ara Indah.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri had said on Wednesday that screenings carried out among close contacts showed the infectivity rate at 19.6% while screenings in the community indicated an infectivity rate of 10.7%, which means at least one out of every 10 community members could get infected.
Residents in the enhanced MCO in need of assistance can call the Southwest District police control centre (04-8664122), Southwest District Land Department (04-8689400) or Southwest District Health Department (04-8668357).