Include more locations in list, govt urged

PETALING JAYA: While the public says flagging potential Covid-19 hotspots would be helpful, they believe locations other than shopping malls and eateries should also be included.

Meanwhile, retailers noted that shops and stores should not be penalised for the spike in Covid-19 cases.

Copywriter Astrid Lye said a daily list of potential hotspots would be a useful point of reference.

“People can refer to it and avoid going to these places. Having the list will remind people of the potential hotspots near them before they decide to step out of the house.

“However, this info is only reliable and helpful if people do their part and check the potential hotspots, ” said the 38-year-old.

Daniel Lee, 32, said the list would be a helpful guide, though it would be put to better use when the number of new Covid-19 cases is lower.

“If the list was produced when cases were still below 1,000 and not in the community, it would be easier to avoid these places while contact tracing would also be more do-able.

“If we had this information a year ago, it would have been more valuable, ” he said.

Facebook user Ilya Jihan Zaila commented that “prevention is better than waiting until it’s too late”, while Twitter user Bon Pelum hopes that the government will continue to “publish the list from time to time”.

However, Facebook user Sheryll O.W. Chan said it would be helpful to show the level of danger of locations on the MySejahtera app.

“All (locations) have varying degrees of danger, it will then be right to turn away. Just as the MySejahtera app will show if the person is low-risk or otherwise, ” she said.

Another Facebook user, Yee Liang, said other places, not just shopping malls, should also be looked into.

“Why not close the malls, factories, and construction sites? Easy and effective.

“Based on statistics, about 5% of Covid-19 clusters are from the malls. How about the 50% of Covid-19 clusters from factories or 10% from construction sites?” he said.

Datuk Seri Garry Chua, who heads the F&B division of Malaysia Retail Chain Association, also said the number of clusters emerging from malls was smaller than in factories.

“The government should focus on these small target areas. Covid-19 will be with us for some time, so there must be a balanced way of doing it.

“If we look at the eateries in shopping malls, very few have poor adherence to the SOP.

“I understand that the Covid-19 figures are seeing a spike, but we must look closely as to where these cases are coming from, ” he said.

Bumiputera Retailers Organisation president Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin said that naming specific retail outlets would create public stigma.

“The approach for identifying hotspots this way may create panic.

“Once you have named a location, what can the premises owner do? It’s already beyond his or her control, ” he said.

He also questioned what would be defined as a crowded area, as the reasonable number of visitors would differ according to the size of the premises.

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