AUTHORITIES are considering the need for large gatherings in months to come, following the outbreak of the global pandemic Covid-19 which has claimed 53 lives here.

“We will study discouraging mass gatherings for the next six months to one year,” Ministry of Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a media conference on Friday.

Friday also saw 3,333 Covid-19 infection cases recorded, and the positive side was there were 827 patients discharged – a clear indication health officials efforts were on the right track in tackling the pandemic.

Dr Noor Hisham did not rule out the possibility that social norms – handshakes and embrace – could be a ‘thing of the past’ even should the present Movement Control Order (MCO) comes to end on April 14, and physical distancing becoming a new form of greeting.

Asked about Ramadan bazaars, Noor Hisham said innovative ideas should be conceptualised to ensure its viability.

‘For as long health standards are adhered to, bazaars could be feasible as the present objective was to prevent gatherings and physical contact.

The first week of the MCO saw a huge upward spike in food deliveries, so organised may want to consider an e-bazaar where food can be ordered online for home deliveries.

The senior health official’s comments came following announcements that several States imposed a ban on bazaars popular during the upcoming fasting month.

On MOH staff tested positive, Dr Noor Hisham said 138 have been tested positive but none caught the infection attending to patients.

‘Fifty-eight cases were linked to wedding receptions attended by individuals who also attended the tabligh gathering in Sri Petaling,” he said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said authorities can exercise their discretion over the movement of individuals especially those seeking medical treatment.

If a clinic or hospital, he explained, was beyond the 10km radius, there was no problem allowing an individual to travel during the MCO.

“We can exercise flexibility especially for those seeking treatment … so there is no problem for them (the patients).”

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