KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Under the conditional movement control order (MCO), people are no longer allowed to continue the tradition of Aidilfitri visits on Monday, the second day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
As part of the move to curb the spread of Covid-19, the government only allowed visits on the first day of Hari Raya, on condition that the standard operating procedure (SOP) was observed, including limiting visitors to 20 people, practising social distancing and maintaining hygiene.
There were some who refused to comply with the SOP and attempted to cross state lines to get back to their hometowns, but the majority of people observed the new normal for the celebrations this year.
Mosques, surau and graveyards which most Muslims thronged on the first day of Syawal each year, were quiet and devoid of people following the ban imposed in most states.
Muslims were encouraged to perform the Aidilfitri prayers and conduct their own sermons among family members in the privacy of their homes.
Meanwhile, many took advantage of technology by making video calls to connect with their loved ones.
The tradition of Aidilfitri visits has always been a way for families and friends to reconnect, but this was not possible year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Visits would have put people at risk, especially the vulnerable groups comprising the elderly, those suffering chronic diseases and children.
According to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, 62.6% of deaths caused by Covid-19 were among those aged 60 years and above, while 80.7% were people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease and other health complications.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reminded people several times to avoid meeting others even though some leeway had been given for the celebrations as there had been cases in other countries of Covid-19 infections arising from social visits, giving the examples of incidents in Bahrain and New Jersey, United States.
In Bahrain, a family of 16 met up for iftar (breaking of fast), and in the United States, four people met for a meal – all were later found to have been infected with Covid-19.
The government’s ban on social visits during Aidilfitri is for good reason – to curb the spread of Covid-19 which could cause death among people at high risk.
So, for their own sakes, Muslims have been urged to bear with the new normal set for Syawal celebrations. – Bernama