‘Baseless claims affecting livelihood of durian traders during pandemic’

DURIAN odour does not increase the likelihood of a person contracting Covid-19, nor does the fruit cause harm in those who have been vaccinated against the virus, MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong says.

He said that he received numerous complaints from durian traders who were concerned about such rumours being spread.

“Such irresponsible claims are affecting the business of these traders, who are trying to earn a living during this difficult time.

“If such claims were true, I am sure that our Health director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah would have warned us, ” he said.

Health Ministry had last month debunked a fake viral message claiming that a man who had received his Covid-19 vaccine died after eating durian.

It added that there were no reports of deaths from eating durian after vaccination in the country.

Datuk Alan Ling, who owns a durian plantation in Banting, Selangor, expressed worry that such rumours could increase unsold stocks.

“Durian has a short lifespan of about 24 hours, after which they will go bad, ” he said.

Datuk Dr Lai Kwong Choy said there was no clinical evidence to suggest that durian odour could transmit Covid-19.

He said practising hygiene while handling the fruit was more important to curb the spread of the virus.

“Covid-19 is known to spread via droplets such as saliva and nasal discharge that are ejected into the air.

“If an infected person touches or breathes near the fruit, it is possible for the virus particles to attach to its surface.

“Proper wearing of a face mask and frequent hand washing will help to limit the risk of infection, ” he said in a press conference with Chong and Ling in SS2, Petaling Jaya.

Dr Lai, a general practitioner, rejected the claim that consuming durian after vaccination could prove harmful.

“It is normal to experience some side effects after vaccination, such as mild pain at the injection site, fever, muscle aches and headache.

“This is because the immune system is being stimulated to fight off the virus.

“Durian is high in carbohydrate and calorie, so eating it can cause a mild discomfort, ” he said, noting that it could be more pronounced when experienced alongside the vaccine’s side effects.

“But it does not mean that you cannot have durian after vaccination, although we advise people to wait a day or two before eating it, ” he said.

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