The COVID-19 outbreak and the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced to contain it, has not only affected people health wise, but also hit where where it hurts many the most - their pockets.

Scores of people were spotted queueing outside pawn shops in several states, to pawn their jewellery, after the government allowed the the reopening of pawn shops under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), and photos of the crowd have been circulating on social media since yesterday.

The Malay Mail surveyed several pawn shops in Ipoh, Perak and Johor, and most of the customers said they were there to pawn their jewellery in return for cash, as they had lost their sources of income during the MCO, while others were there to pay interest or redeem previous pawned jewellery.

Most of the shops were also seen following government guidelines by practising social distancing rules, checking the customers' temperature, and providing hand sanitizers at the entrance.

It was a similar sight at shop lots housing pawn shops in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, and even in Kangar, Perlis, reported the daily.

Meanwhile, The Star reported that there was a traffic jam in Melaka yesterday, due to people crowding the town to go to shopping malls and pawn shops.

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government had announced the RM250 billion Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus package last month to alleviate the suffering of people and industries hit hard by the pandemic.

Among the initiatives announced were the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN)- a one off cash aid of RM1,600 for households earning RM4,000 and below, and RM1,000 for those earning between RM4,001 and RM8,000.

Singles earning RM2,000 or less are eligible to receive RM800, while singles who earn between RM2,001 and RM4,001, will get RM500 worth of BPN.

The government also allowed workers who have Employee Provident Fund (EPF) savings to withdraw RM500 a month from their second account, for a year from May this year.

Despite these aids, many locals, especially those who have no fixed employments or income, and the self-employed, are facing a tough time getting back on their feet.

COVID-19 has thus far affected 6,353 people in Malaysia, and killed 105.

Globally, the infected tally has surpassed 3.6 million, with more than 252,000 people killed.

Source: Malay Mail, The Star
Photo source: Twitter