GEORGE TOWN: With the balik kampung rush starting soon, health experts have warned the public to remain on high alert to keep the Covid-19 pandemic in check.
Penang Hospital infectious disease unit head Datuk Dr Chow Ting Soo said there was still a small group of people who could not be vaccinated or are not responding to vaccines.
For this reason, she said those who want to celebrate Hari Raya in their hometowns should spare a thought for this high-risk group of people.
“They can be anywhere in your hometowns and their health conditions could be severe if they are infected with Covid-19.
“Do Covid-19 RTK-AG tests one or two days before you leave for your hometown for Raya,” she added.
Many Muslims are expected to return to their hometowns for the first time in two years to celebrate the festivity with their loved ones and relatives.
The balik kampung exodus was not permitted under Covid-19 protocols over the past two years.
Dr Chow said those who tested positive in their hometowns should isolate themselves and report via the MySejahtera app.
“They should also go to the nearest Covid-19 Assessment Centre.
“If you feel unwell, and have fever, sore throat, cough and nose block, you should stay self-isolated and avoid crowded places,” she added.
Virologist Dr Kumitaa Theva Das from Universiti Sains Malaysia said those celebrating Hari Raya should do it at places with good ventilation and hygiene.
“If you are displaying any Covid-19 symptoms, or have been in close contact, the best thing to do would be to postpone your travels by a day or two.
“Until you have confirmed that you are in the clear, it would be best to not travel and potentially put others at risk,” she said.
Dr Kumitaa said she is aware that many are looking forward to seeing their family whom they have not seen in two years.
“So, we can all do our part to get tested and not bring Covid-19 into the homes of our loved ones,” she added.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said those who want to return to their hometowns should inform nearby police stations.
“With the police informed, we can then keep track on vacant households in a neighbourhood.
“This will ease our patrol duty,” he said after launching Ops Selamat 18 in Bayan Baru yesterday.