PETALING JAYA: With Covid-19 cases on the rise and the Health Ministry anticipating a new wave, Malaysians are treading with caution as they get together with their loved ones during the Hari Raya Haji break.

“As for my family, we are still practising norms such as wearing a face mask when we go out,” said Dr Samsu Ambia Ismail.

The story of his family of seven Covid-19 survivors went viral in 2020 after they shared cheerful TikTok videos of being quarantined together in the hospital.

Dr Samsu Ambia, who is Teluk Intan Hospital Emergency and Trauma Department head, said his family is glad to be celebrating the occasion in his hometown of Kuala Pilah but they are well aware that the contagion is far from over.


In fact, he said several members of his family, including his wife Mazriemi Mohd Zaki, 42, got reinfected a few weeks ago.

They suffered mild symptoms such as loss of appetite, said the 51-year-old doctor.

“Covid-19 cases are rising, although most of them are less severe. But at the same time, influenza cases are also going up.”

He called on others to practise safety measures during Hari Raya Aidiladha.

“While we can’t control others and force them to put on a face mask and so on, we have to make sure we protect ourselves,” said Dr Samsu Ambia, whose five children are aged between 10 and 20.

He encouraged those who were symptomatic or unwell to put on a mask.

This is especially because people tend to not practise strict standard operating procedure (SOP) around symptomatic family members, thus making them more susceptible to getting infected by Covid-19.

“We must take extra precautions around family members, especially those who are unwell. We have to protect the children as well.

“Masking has been proven to help reduce the risk of infection,” he added.

Content specialist Elena Nizam, 31, is also ensuring that her Hari Raya Haji celebration in her hometown Kuantan is being done with Covid-19 health protocols in mind.

This is because her brother and their mother are both on dialysis treatment.

“I’m very scared of the new wave because my mother and my brother are on dialysis,” she said.

She did a self-test before travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan on Friday.

She also invited just a few friends who are mindful about practising strict SOP to come over.

“For my friends who are quite lax about the SOP, I told them that there is no open house,” said Elena.

She added that her brother, who is having a fever right now, is also not allowed to go to their mother’s house.

Besides limiting the number of people invited to the house, she would also ensure that her mother avoids crowds while shopping.

“I always remind my mother to wear her mask properly when she goes to the dialysis centre.

“And if I’m around when she goes for treatment, I would make sure to pick her up promptly so that she doesn’t have to wait around with other patients as there have been a few Covid-19 cases at the centre before,” said Elena.

Admin assistant Noor Atikah Asri, 26, who will be in Kedah, is also ensuring that Covid-19 safety measures are in place.

For instance, she had taken a self-test.

“My family will also limit the attendance of guests and provide hand sanitiser before they enter our house,” she said, adding that her entire family has so far not been infected with Covid-19.

Student Aisyah Farhana Mohd Fisal, 22, who is marking the occasion in Kedah with her family and relatives, acknowledged the importance of good hand hygiene and wearing of mask.

Her family is conscientious about sanitising hands and the wearing of masks.

“We maintain our distance and also avoid salam (pressing palms) with people”, she said.

She is worried about the new wave of Covid-19 infections.

“I’m concerned about it. The subvariant is infectious,” she said.