M'sia eases Covid-19 restrictions for CNY reunion dinner, days after announcing new restrictions

Families from different households can celebrate together again.

Julia Yeo | February 07, 2021, 11:07 PM

On Feb. 7, restrictions set by the National Security Council (NSC) in Malaysia were eased just a few days after the announcement of the restrictions, allowing up to 15 members from different households to dine together for their reunion dinner, reported Malaymail.

This is a change from an earlier announcement on Feb. 4, when Malaysia announced that celebrations during the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays will be limited to families from the same household.

Malaysia eases measures for CNY despite setting restrictions days ago

NSC also said in its new announcement that while families from different households can visit each other, they must live within 10km radius of the reunion venue, and are not allowed to cross state or district borders, according to Malaysiakini.

In its previous announcement, family reunion dinners are allowed at their residences only among family members from the same household, and other celebrations are limited to families from the same household.

Prayer activities have also been permitted on Feb. 11, 12, and 19 between 6am to 2pm, subject to strict standard procedure.

Previously, this was not allowed.

Under the updated rules, a maximum of 30 people can be present at places of worship on the above dates, in conjunction with the festivities.

Those present at the venues must wear face masks and observe social distancing.

Earlier measures criticised for lack of "cultural awareness"

The original restrictions were criticised for "making little sense", according to Malaymail, leading to calls for a protocol review by the National Unity Ministry.

For example, house visits are barred, but pasar malams (night markets) are still allowed to operate.

It also banned visitations but imposed a gathering cap of 20 people per household at the same time, rendering the condition moot, according to Malaysiakini.

On Feb. 4, Malaysian opposition lawmaker Lim Yi Wei wrote on Facebook, calling out a lack of "cultural awareness" and called the Chinese New Year restrictions "ridiculous".

"I believe the Chinese community is willing to follow SOPs but make it make sense. Anyway, see you guys at pasar malam!" Lim jibed at the earlier measures.

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