Singapore— Malaysia’s relaxed new rule for Chinese New Year reunion dinners has been greeted by Singaporeans with various comments. “Good luck,” said one on Facebook while another asked if the “virus is going to take a holiday” during Chinese New Year.
“Enjoy now, suffer later, lor,” said another uncharitably while others wondered whether the new rule would lead to further restrictions later to contain the coronavirus.
On Sunday (Feb 7), the National Unity Ministry of Malaysia announced that up to 15 immediate family members would be allowed to meet for Chinese New Year reunion dinners, provided they live within 10 km of each other and do not cross district or state lines.
This overrode a previously-announced standard operating procedure that had said reunion dinners could only be celebrated within one’s household.
The decision to change that rule was made at the technical meeting of the National Security Council, led by Ismail Sabri Yaakob, a Senior Minister (Security Cluster).
It is based on the travel restrictions of the present Movement Control Order (MCO), reported the New Straits Times.
As for places of worship, religious activities will be allowed on Feb 11, 12 and 19.
The statement from the National Unity Ministry read, “Places of worship are allowed to open for devotees on these three days from 6 am to 2 pm.”
However, the number of people allowed in each venue should not be more than 30, and they must don face masks and observe physical distancing.
“Each prayer session must not be more than 30 minutes and must be followed by 30 minutes of sanitisation works before another session starts,” the statement added.
There will also be compliance officers to make sure that people obey regulations.
Malaysia has had a total of 238,721 Covid-19 cases and 3,847 deaths.
In an additional bid to curb the spread of infections, the country announced on Feb 7 that foreign workers would be moved to hotels.
One simply wished Malaysians “good luck”.
Some were critical of the turnaround from the Malaysian Government.
Others wrote they expected the number of cases to rise, and the MCOs to be expanded and extended.
One even asked if the virus is expected to take a break during the holiday.
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