PUTRAJAYA: The decision to prohibit Hari Raya visits is not a cruel one, but is instead a crucial move to prevent the spread of Covid-19, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
In a televised Hari Raya address, Muhyiddin said the Covid-19 situation in the country had worsened with hospitals severely overwhelmed and a highly-contagious variant of the virus had been discovered within the community.
"The government had to ban interstate and inter-district travel, restrict social activities and shut down the education and sports sectors.
"Hari Raya visiting is also prohibited, while Aidilfitri prayers at mosques and suraus are allowed, but at a limited capacity.
"I know, many are angry at me. Can't balik kampung, can't even visit families or friends. Is the government that cruel?
"No, I am not cruel. I made this decision to protect the lives of all of you.
"If I allowed house-to-house visiting, what if the guest who comes to your house is Covid-19 positive?" he asked.
He said many patients were asymptomatic without knowing they had been infected, and could in turn spread Covid-19 to family members in the house.
"If the person visits 10 other houses, then 10 families could be infected with Covid-19.
"By the end of Aidilfitri, Covid-19 cases in the country might even jump up to tens of thousands a day. May that never happen," said Muhyiddin.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic should not be taken lightly and strict measures had to be taken to address the situation.
"This isn't a thing to be taken lightly. Unpopular and difficult decisions have to be made, but I think it is the right move in order to protect lives and our future," he said.
Muhyiddin said it was vital for the public to comply with Covid-19 standard operating procedures and to "sacrifice" to help defeat the pandemic.
"It is like going through a war. To save our lives, we must protect ourselves, and staying at home is the best place to be," he said.