ON the eve of Chinese New Year tomorrow, family reunion dinners will be allowed as the community prepares to usher in the Year of the Tiger.

In the National Unity Ministry’s announcement on the standard operating procedure (SOP) for new year celebrations, there is no mention of a cap on the number of people attending the dinner.

While open houses will not be allowed throughout the month-long celebration, receptions can be held by invitation only to limit numbers.

Prayers on the first and second days of Chinese New Year are allowed, with SOP under Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan in place.Lion, dragon and tiger dances can be performed and are subject to creative industry SOP.

Compared with last year’s Chinese New Year celebrations that had to be held at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s rules have been relaxed.

But we must remain vigilant, especially with case numbers increasing in the last few days – from 4,066 daily cases on Monday to 5,552 on Friday.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has warned that the Omicron variant wave has begun in Malaysia.

The number of Covid-19 cases will rise with the highly transmissible variant in the community.

But Khairy has assured Malaysians that the situation is under control as the country has a high vaccination rate: At least 79.8% of Malaysia’s total population has been vaccinated with at least one dose.While we can relax a little this Chinese New Year, let’s not go overboard as the pandemic is far from over.

Let’s overcome the rising Covid-19 cases together by following the SOP such as observing physical distancing – yes, even when you’re visiting a friend’s or neighbour’s house – and wearing a face mask at all times except when eating and drinking.

Before attending any physical gatherings or visiting families, please practise TRIIS (trace, report, isolate, inform and seek help).

We would like to wish readers who celebrate Happy Chinese New Year. Let’s all have a roaring Year of the Tiger!