Medical experts say no to Bazaar Ramadan

Scene at a Bazaar Ramadan last year – Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

THE Academy of Medicine Malaysia (AMM) today said it strongly disagrees with plans to hold Ramadan bazaars this year, given the ongoing threat of Covid-19.

“It is our opinion that adequate social distancing will be near-impossible to achieve given the popularity and congestion of Ramadan bazaars.

“Close contact will inevitably occur in parking areas, en-route and between customers and vendors,” it said in a statement.

The statement was a response to news reports quoting Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa saying Ramadan bazaars will not be cancelled but will be “modified” to prevent congestion at the stalls.

AMM pointed out that the premature easing of social distancing may potentially lead to a third wave of infections.

“The daily rate of new cases is currently still in triple digits (more than 120 per day), indicating ongoing community spread with unknown chains of transmission. A third wave will be a setback to any previous hard-earned gains since the enforcement of the Movement Control Order on March 18,” it cautioned.

Instead, alternatives such as an online Ramadan bazaar with delivery services should be promoted to reduce the risk of infections and to minimise the economic impact on small traders, it suggested.

“Many sacrifices have and continue to be made this year. The war against Covid-19 is far from over, and we will need to continue persevering in order to enjoy many more Ramadhans to come. Losing this war is not an option,” it stressed.

The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, with 11 Colleges and 15 Chapters, is a registered body representing all medical specialists in Malaysia.