Pic RAZAK GHAZALI
THE MCO Phase 3 from April 15-28 needs to be implemented strictly to ensure 100% compliance in controlling the transmission of Covid-19.
It is regrettable that a lot of people are taking the MCO lightly as can be seen by the numbers of arrested people. One just has to go to public and commercial areas to see large numbers of people milling around under the pretext of wanting to buy essentials.
The best way is prevention and not cure as there is no vaccine or drugs for Covid-19 right now. Only if Covid- 19 new infections have been reduced to the barest minimum can the lockdown be lifted and the situation can get back to normal to the relief of all Malaysians.
If large crowds are allowed to mingle, especially in small towns and other urban areas, it will defeat the purpose of the MCO although infection rates are coming down and recovery rates are going up. The government should not let its guard down.
Infection rates can surge back to dangerous levels and the government and Ministry of Health (MoH) will have a big problem to deal with later. The experience of many countries around the world does not give any confidence that the danger posed by Covid-19 is being reduced as the infection and death rates in many countries are shocking.
It is heartening to note that the MoH is slowly winning the battle aided by the imposition of the MCO and lockdown. However, if the lockdown is unnecessarily relaxed, it could spell danger as all that is needed is for a few infected persons to spread the disease when mingling with others, and the infection rate will go up by geometrical progression, not by arithmetic progression, as some countries have observed and experienced.
India’s experience — when there is a sudden surge in the number of infections and deaths in the last 20 days — is a good point to consider. There is an additional danger of persons who have recovered becoming infected again as numerous cases in South Korea have shown.
It is also now feared that the virus could be airborne according to the World Health Organisation. Medical experts opine that if the lockdown is slackened without a good basis, the Covid-19 virus might resurge to risky levels.
It is more rational and logical to continue with a strict imposition of the lockdown rather than to impose it again when the numbers start to go up. The government is doing a good job and it should not be compromised because of the urging of some sectors in the country.
The government has already come up with various stimulus and compensation packages to alleviate the hardship of the people and the people need to appreciate that their health is more valuable than their search for wealth.
With a severe Covid-19 infection, there is only a 50-50 chance of survival even for the young people. The risk of infection is so high that one person cannot with confidence converse with another or even shake hands. Only a few days back, it was discovered that some residents of the Selangor Mansion and the Malayan Mansion in Kuala Lumpur were infected and a strict lockdown was urgently imposed.
As such, the government needs to be wary and concerned about loosening the lockdown when it is uncertain about the future consequences.
The risk of transmission is still high. There is no need to open hairdressing salons, launderettes, or motor workshops and other non- essential industries for the time being.
Only food-related businesses need to be open and the government has done that. The food supply chain must be kept operational however difficult it may be. Hundreds of multinationals and other large firms that employ thousands of workers and pay millions in corporate taxes are accepting the present situation as they feel that they do not have a better alternative.
Some very important industries that would face irretrievable losses, such as the palm oil industry, have been allowed to operate during the lockdown. Many large firms, as well as small and medium enterprises, which are mostly export-oriented, may not even be able to restart production as international maritime trade is at a standstill.
Malaysians are an enterprising and industrious lot and will be able to make up for the losses in no time.
We need to appreciate what the government is doing to ensure that the country is safe. Constructive criticisms must be considered by the government, so that it will be able to correct the situation.
A lot of criticisms are, however, racially or politically tinged, and the government should ignore them. The same sections of the community that are criticising the government for prolonging the lockdown will turn around to condemn the government if things get wrong after the lockdown has been loosened.
The government began to feel the seriousness of Covid-19 quite late and imposed the partial lockdown only on March 18. Malaysia has, through trial and error, managed to grapple with it and is steadily succeeding in its efforts to contain the transmission.
Some sections of the community, such as those who attended the tabligh event in Sri Petaling, have been uncooperative and this has created an uncertainty and doubt about the possibility of future infections. The majority of the community is appreciative of the government’s efforts and every citizen should do the best to overcome this unprecedented crisis.
The infection and death rates in Europe, West Asia and the US are shocking and this is a chilling message to all Malaysians. The wise learn from the mistakes of others. We should not be learning from our own mistakes.
- Thomas Zacharia George Banting, Selangor
- The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.