Klang’s vibrancy drained by the pandemic

Jalan Tengku Kelana in Klang- filepic

AS a proud “permanent resident” of Klang for the past 21 years, I can vouch for the town’s vibrancy.

Out-of-towners would make their way to Klang to frequent the many seafood restaurants and bak kut teh shops, creating massive jams around town.

Public recreation locations such as Taman Rakyat in Sri Andalas and the Pandamaran sport complex park used to be crowded in the mornings and evenings, every day.

But as with countless people around the globe, the lifestyle here has been greatly altered since Covid-19 reared its ugly head.

Klang, sadly, is one of the worst-hit districts in Selangor due to infections among factory workers as well as community transmission.

Some patients, doctors and nurses at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang were also not spared.

Going by the numbers, the entire Selangor is a red zone with Klang ranked third (after Petaling and Hulu Langat) among the nine districts in terms of the number of Covid-19 cases.

During the first movement control order (MCO) last March, the cases were contained within clusters that were nowhere near Klang.

But now the contagion has taken on a twisted face after arriving here in full force.

It started sometime in October last year when residents of Prima Bayu Apartments stared Covid-19 in the eye after 30 foreign workers living in seven units there became infected.

Their asymptomatic housemates were placed under home quarantine. And as a precaution, other residents stationed security guards outside those apartment units to ensure the dwellers remained indoors.

These anxious people had taken the situation into their own hands and did what they believed was the right thing to protect themselves and their families.

It was one of the first very serious incidents in Klang since the pandemic emerged in late 2019.

Then came the Teratai cluster which involved foreigners working for glove maker Top Glove.

As of today, it is still Malaysia’s biggest ever cluster with more than 5,000 cases.

One of those infected, 29-year-old Yamnarayanan Chaudhary Tharu from Nepal, succumbed to the infection at Hospital Sungai Buloh.

Quite a number of the people living in four nearby housing estates apparently were infected, according to tests conducted by the state government after the Teratai cluster blew up.

Meru assemblyman Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar had attributed this to the fact that factory workers and locals were frequenting the same restaurants, grocery shops and other amenities in the area.

In short, it’s these “explosive” factory infections that resulted in Klang becoming one of the Covid-19 hotspots.

These incidents, besides pushing Klang up in the Covid-19 infection hierarchy, created a sense of anxiety among Klang folk.

They have begun to realise that just about anyone can succumb to the pandemic.

The latest MCO, although not as restrictive as the first one, has led to a more subdued atmosphere in Klang, given that many businesses had closed for good during the first round.

The fear of getting infected is also seeing some business owners, especially restaurant operators, not being as “enthusiastic” as they were during the first MCO.

For now, the once-vibrant parts of the town are a sad shadow of what they used to be.

But it’s good that local folk are taking precautions.

As for me, my fear is that I may infect those dear to me if I am not careful.

One of my loved ones has pulmonary fibrosis while another has five stents in his heart.

The last thing I would want is to be their “superspreader”, more so after people I know have been infected.

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