Omicron’s Chinese New Year downer – school clusters a big worry

“Great timing. Hope it does not get worse after the festivities.”

That was generally the reaction of several parents ahead of the Chinese New Year school holidays that begin on Monday.

They are worried as more and more schoolchildren are infected with the coronavirus. There are 62 school clusters this week, up from 15 previously.

The increase in cases among schoolchildren worried Subang Jaya MP, Wong Chen, who urged parents to be vigilant and quickly register children aged 5-12 for the Covid-19 vaccines.

The government will start vaccination for those below 12 on Thursday.

In the meantime, parents debated whether to send their children to school.

“Although they take turns going to school – one week online, and the following week, physical classes – I am still worried,” said A. Kumari.

“Having them home for a week is good. But I am worried that the number of cases will rise once schools resume.

“I am unsure if I want to send them to school after the holidays.”

Her sentiments were echoed by William Khoo, who has two children, aged below 12.

“I was worried when I read about the school clusters. Although our school is safe, that does not mean we can take it easy,” said Khoo.

“For this Chinese New Year, we have not planned anything grand. We will have a simple reunion dinner with very close family members.

“The rest of the time will be in front of the television.”

Khoo said he is cautious as he is awaiting the vaccination dates for his children.

Even my home minister was hesitant to send our kids to school. But as both are fully vaccinated, we agreed to let them go.

It is a crucial time for Owen, as he sits for the SPM examinations in March.

To those celebrating, have a very Happy Chinese New Year. Be safe.

NEW DAILY CASES EXCEED 5,000 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE DEC 10

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Omicron variant has contributed to the rise in new Covid-19 cases.

In the past week, we had 30,957 new cases, including 5,439 on Thursday and 5,522 yesterday. The last time we exceeded 5,000 was Dec 10 (5,058).

In total, Malaysia has 2,855,930 infections.

On the recovery front, 23,687 patients received the all-clear this week, making it 2,773,948 who have beaten the coronavirus.

There were 83 deaths in the last week, taking fatalities to 31,952.

Worldwide, there are 368.2 million cases and 5.6 million deaths.

RFID IS CONVENIENT

The RFID (radio frequency identification) lanes along the Plus Highway have received plenty of brickbats, but I am a fan.

As not many are using the lanes to pay their toll, I reckon I cut my travel time from Subang Jaya to Taman Tun Dr Ismail by 10 minutes each morning. Sadly, I still get caught in traffic after the toll!

Touch wood, I have yet to experience any difficulties with the barriers not opening – something that has happened many times when using SmartTag.

I like always knowing my available balance, and the simple steps to top up the e-wallet.

The good news is that Touch n’ Go will introduce new cards soon that you can top up via your e-wallet.

The better news is that the government may allow other digital payment providers once RFID penetration reaches a satisfactory level.

DO THE MATHS

Something I received via WhatsApp.

NEW PLACE FOR BANANA LEAF MEALS

A friend, Sashidaran Nair, is opening a banana leaf restaurant in Dataran Puchong next Sunday.

Called Nair’s Mess, the big draw is the reasonable prices – RM9.90 for a banana leaf meal with chicken or fish, and only RM13.90 for a flower crab set.

All the best, Sashi.

AN INTERESTING READ

I came across this article on Facebook. Amazing. Do have a look.

SPOT ON

My friends love Xavier, and this is another classic.

HAVE A LAUGH

Funnyman Douglas Lim released this Chinese New Year number in January. Have a good laugh.