Market reopens but traders remain wary

Back in business: People shopping at the Bagan Ajam market in Butterworth.

BUTTERWORTH: The usual hustle and bustle is missing but the Bagan Ajam market, an enduring local institution, is back in business after a brush with Covid-19.

The market, which closed for three days after a cluster was found there, reopened yesterday with traders counting their losses.

“My baskets of pineapples are now overripe, ” said a fruit trader who only wished to be known as Johari.

He said he had to reopen his stall to clear his stock.

Johari was also concerned about being infected in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

“People are moving about. We cannot be entirely sure if the place is free from the virus.

“But at least the market has been sanitised and we feel a bit safer, ” he said.

There were fewer customers at the market yesterday.

Security has intensified with Seberang Prai City Council officers on a constant watch for overcrowding and other violations of the standard operating procedure.

Last Wednesday, the Health Ministry confirmed 43 positive cases in the market out of all those screened.

Dubbed the Terbilang Cluster, it is believed to be the first cluster in which the contact tracing yielded a 100% positivity rate.

The index case was a 49-year-old Malaysian who tested positive on May 5 after showing symptoms on April 28.

Sungai Puyu assemblyman Phee Boon Poh said eight new cases were detected on Saturday – two from hawkers and six from among their family members.

“One is a coffee seller, the other is a biscuit seller.

“Other traders involved in both areas have been urged to undergo swab tests and they are only allowed to reopen after doing so, ” he said.

He said the market reopened yesterday but the food hawkers and non-halal meat section would stay closed until today.

“There are not many market goers today (yesterday), ” said vegetable trader Lee Gaik Lan, 54.

Lee, whose mother started the business about 50 years ago, said traders themselves were wary of the risk of being infected.

“We are worried about our safety but our business must go on for us to make a living. We spent over RM500 to do our own Covid-19 screening too, ” she said.

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Bagan Ajam market , Business , Covid-19


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