Mohd Adli Mohamad said that his family is now being discriminated against by neighbours and other villagers after one of his relatives was identified as the index patient of the Kampung Matang Cluster in Terengganu
According to Bernama, the Kampung Matang Cluster is currently the biggest cluster in the Hulu Terengganu district.
Muhammad Adli's family became the target of the public's anger as they are said to have infected 127 other individuals with COVID-19. The disease has also spread to three other villages nearby and sparked other new clusters as well.
"Our family would like to apologise to the community in Hulu Terengganu, especially those living under the Telemong State Legislative Assembly, for the difficulties they are facing, always living in worry due to the rapid spread of COVID-19."
"However, what happened was not intentional, we did not mean to hurt or infect anybody. We hope that people will stop 'punishing' our family as it disrupts our emotions," he said to Bernama.
Mohd Adli explained that his brother-in-law had returned to their village during Ramadan to ensure that his wife, who had just given birth, will undergo a smooth confinement period
"He obtained police authorisation to travel interstate. In fact, he performed a swab test and tested negative for COVID-19 but somehow he tested positive for the disease not long after," he said.
"In just a blink of an eye, one by one of our 48 family members (including my brother-in-law's family) tested positive and went on to receive treatment at the hospital while also undergoing quarantine at the locations assigned by the government. Maybe there was an oversight on our behalf in mingling and causing many family members to be infected with COVID-19."
However, Mohd Adli said that even after his family's recovery, the local community treated them coldly and it pushed them to consider moving to a different place
"It's very disheartening when one of our family members wanted to purchase basic items at a store but no one wanted to assist them in fears of being infected despite them having fully recovered from the disease," he said.
"In the end, they had to ask for permission from the authorities to purchase all their basic necessities at a different location quite far from where they stayed because they did not want to incite an uncomfortable atmosphere in the village."
However, Mohd Adli says that he does not blame the villagers for their attitude because he believes it is rooted in misconceptions regarding COVID-19
He noted that although they have explained that they cannot infect others after receiving treatment at the hospital, some residents in the village still cannot accept the fact with an open mind.
"We are still strong in facing this test and hope that everything will go back to normal," he said, while urging other Malaysians to continue abiding with standard operating procedures (SOPs) so they will not have to experience what his family went through.
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