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CMCO: Thousands still try to balik kampung despite interstate travel ban

During today’s National Security Council briefing, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was surprised that many people are still attempting to balik kampung. This is despite multiple reminders and warnings that interstate travel is prohibited throughout the conditional movement control order.

It was reported that 508 vehicles on Friday and 1,248 vehicles on Saturday were forced to make a U-turn as they were trying to travel to their hometowns. On Sunday, 1,175 vehicles had attempted to cross interstate borders and they are also ordered to turn back.

Ismail Sabri shared that the police had set up 148 roadblocks and have inspected 156,096 vehicles. He urges everyone to heed the advice as it is inconvenient to start a journey and then forced to turn back.

Don’t bother applying for permission to balik kampung

According to the Johor Police, 70% of interstate travel applications received in the state are for travels to respective hometowns for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Johor Police Chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said these 70% of applications were rejected as interstate or cross-border travels are restricted for emergency cases only.

He told the public not to waste their time by giving such reasons. He urges the public to cooperate by complying with the regulations during the conditional movement control order, especially during the Hari Raya holiday season.

Attempts to travel interstate are worrying

The Ministry of Health has expressed concerns over attempts made by people to travel interstate to return back to their hometowns. Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says it is worrisome for the ministry as it could involve university students that have gone back to their respective families. He said their family members may consist of high-risk groups such as the elderly, children and those with lower immunity due to chronic diseases or comorbidity.

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It was recently reported that 14% of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia have a history of interstate travel. 18 out of 49 clusters in the country involve crossing state borders. 10 out of 18 of these clusters are currently active with new cases being recorded. 

For the upcoming Hari Raya celebration, home visitation is allowed up to a maximum of 20 people at a time. The Health director-general has reminded everyone to take into account the size of the home to ensure social distancing. He said that visits should be limited to close family members only and to prioritise the health of senior citizens who are more vulnerable.

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Alexander Wong