Trader who violated quarantine order to face action

MELAKA: Many want the Covid-19-positive vegetable stall owner who is said to have returned to trade at the main wet market here to face punitive action.

The man is believed to have cut off his pink wristband and re-entered the market at Jalan Tun Fatimah here, triggering a chain of infections.

State executive councillor Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee said the man had caused 31 infections among traders there.

“How come the infected stall owner gained entry through the main entrance when there were enforcement officers screening everyone entering. I want to know how the trader entered the market, ” he said yesterday.

Norhizam, who is the state agriculture, agro-based, entrepreneur development and cooperative committee chairman, said thousands went to the market located in his Pengkalan Batu constituency daily.

He said there were about 300 traders based at the market, after the previous wet market at Melaka Sentral was declared unsafe following active underground soil movement detected in August 2016, leading to an immediate evacuation order.

The market was ordered closed for three days by the Health Ministry on June 14 after 15 traders tested positive for Covid-19, with the closure order extended to June 23 after 16 other traders tested positive on Wednesday.

The State Health Department said so far, there were no positive cases registered among market goers.

Fellow traders alleged that the vegetable stall owner who first tested positive was supposed to be under quarantine, but returned to trade at the market.

On Monday, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali ordered an immediate investigation into claims that the trader had cut off his pink wristband and returned to the market.

Melaka Historic City Council mayor Datuk Zainal Abu said an internal investigation was underway.

Melaka Hawker and Petty Traders Association chairman Datuk Wong Soo Tang said the trader must be punished for his irresponsibility, and for being “heartless and selfish”.

“This is unacceptable and I hope the individual will be made to pay a heavy price.”

Wong added that it was important for the traders and workers at the market to be vaccinated quickly.

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