The Housing and Local Government Ministry has ordered 22 Ramadan bazaars across seven states and territories to close.
In a letter today to various local authorities, the ministry’s secretary-general Zainal Abidin Abu Hassan said these bazaars have been identified as having a high risk of Covid-19 transmission.
“This threat of transmission is the conclusion of analysing contact tracing conducted by the Health Ministry through the MySejahtera app.
“Therefore, your cooperation is requested to close the Ramadan bazaars effective May 1 to contain and control infections and the increase of Covid-19 cases,” Zainal said in the letter sighted by Malaysiakini.
In a press release later, the ministry said the closure would last three days to sanitise the affected bazaars and improve their standard operating procedures (SOPs).
It said that up to April 15, 904 Covid-19 cases were found to have visited a Ramadan bazaar, or were infected by individuals who had been to the bazaars.
The list of affected bazaars are as follows:
Johor: Belatuk Taman Scientex, Pasir Gudang; Kg Pasir, Jalan Mata Kuching, Johor Bahru; @Mart Kempas, Johor Bahru; Lok Heng, Kota Tinggi.
Kedah: Taman Selasih, Kulim; Baling 2021, Baling; Kupang 2021, Baling.
Pahang: Lurah Semantan, Temerloh; Temerloh Jaya, Temerloh.
Perak: Bazar Nenas Kg Selabak, Teluk Intan.
Penang: MPKK Jalan Tenggiri, Seberang Perai; Attakwa Taman Bertam Indah, Seberang Perai; Bazar Ramadhan MBPP/MBSP; Kampung Melayu; Masjid Daerah Barat Daya; Iftar Ramadhan Jalan Berangan Bkt Bntng 2021; Bukit Gedung; Taman Tun Sardon.
Selangor: Pusat Sementara Penjaja/Basar Ramadhan Puncak Jalil, Subang Jaya; Stesen LRT Cempaka, Ampang Jaya.
Kuala Lumpur: Taman Setiawangsa; Jalan Raja Alang.
The ministry noted that only 22 bazaars have been affected, compared to the 1,073 operating nationwide.
Meanwhile, in his letter, Zainal said the decision was made at a National Security Council special meeting on April 28, but the attached list of “high risk” bazaars said the list is up to April 15.
In a related development, Kuala Lumpur City Hall also announced the closure of the two affected bazaars under its purview but said the closure only takes effect for two days on Saturday and Sunday.
The directives came as Covid-19 cases in the country continue to soar at an accelerating pace, reaching 3,788 cases in a single day today.
The national R-nought yesterday was 1.12, indicating an outbreak that is growing faster and faster. The last time the figure was below 1.00 was on April 7; any figure higher than that indicates an accelerating outbreak.
When the bazaars opened at the start of Ramadan on April 12, the R-nought that day was 1.19 and the figure was already consistently exceeding 1.00 for over a week.
At the state level, the R-nought for the affected states and territories as of yesterday are: Kuala Lumpur (1.23), Selangor (1.19), Kedah (1.22), Pahang (1.20), Johor (1.14), Perak (1.08), and Penang (1.01).
Kelantan, which has the highest R-nought of 1.24, has already closed all its Ramadan bazaars before Ramadan even began due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases at the time.