Fully vaccinated travellers at ease in Penang despite new Covid-19 wave


Easy breezy: Holidaymakers taking a stroll along Armenian Street in George Town during the school holidays. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: As new Covid-19 virus variants create a wave of infections in Singapore, tourists in Penang this weekend have shown no signs of worry.

A check yesterday showed nearly all of the usual weekend holidaymakers in densely populated areas not wearing masks or observing other precautions like physical distancing.

Among the throng of tourists was Mohd Junaidi Amir, a 43-year-old senior manager, accompanied by his wife Hafizah Mahat, 38, and their six children, aged six to 14.

The Star met the family from Pasir Gudang, Johor, while they waiting for their turn to board the funicular train up Penang Hill for the first time.

“I feel that we are pretty much safe here as all of us have been fully vaccinated,” he said.

Mohd Junaidi said he and his family do try to practise physical distancing.

Hafizah, a housewife, said that although they do not wear masks, they wash their hands frequently.

“I think we are better protected now as most of us are fully vaccinated. We don’t feel the threat is there,” she said, adding that they had taken their kids to the beaches in Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang and tried Penang’s assam laksa and nasi kandar.

Another family, who travelled from Terengganu, said that it is unnecessary for them to wear masks.

Felda settler Ibrahim Awang, 67, said there is no need for masks as everyone is healthy and have been fully vaccinated.

“This is the only time I can take my children and grandchildren for a holiday,” the man from Kemaman said, adding that at other times, he would be at work and his grandchildren at school.

Ibrahim said he and his family stayed at one of their relatives’ houses in Bagan Serai, Perak, before coming to Penang for sightseeing.

He said if he or his family members were to fall sick, he would make sure they get treatment from the clinic as soon as possible.

A tourist from Kedah, who only wanted to be known as Chong, said Penang was his family’s favourite place to visit every school holiday.

When asked the reason for not wearing a mask, the 50-year-old teacher said he does not feel that the virus is a threat as almost all citizens are fully vaccinated.

He said the virus is already endemic and that vaccinations had provided enough immunity for the population.

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