Think tank calls on govt to avoid another MCO, improve communications and research

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

The government is recommended to avoid imposing another Movement Control Order (MCO) in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic but act based on better data analysis, communications and research.

Center for Market Education (CME) CEO Dr Carmelo Ferlito said based on the results obtained in different parts of the world that imposed lockdown, it is impossible to identify if the movement restrictions can contain the spread of the virus.

“We are concerned about the growing rumours about the possibility of another MCO. The more recent scientific literature is showing that there is no correlation between draconian restrictive measures and curbing the spread of Covid-19; the explanatory variables are to be found elsewhere, such as in latitude, climate, social habits and population age,” Ferlito said in a statement today.

He also provided a reference to an article entitled “Covid-19 Mortality: A Matter of Vulnerability Among Nations Facing Limited Margins of Adaptation”, published on Frontiers in Public Health’s website. 

He said if the same policy produces different results in different contexts, it means that the main factors behind the results were different.

CME observed that in different regions those countries that were mildly affected in March and April are now experiencing a strong wave of Covid-19. 

It is the case of Malaysia in Southeast Asia and Germany in Europe (the latter is now recording double the number of deaths compared to Italy). 

Ferlito said this means that these countries were spared by the virus by natural factors rather than by restrictive measures and these measures in Europe are failing to produce the expected results.

According to CME, it is necessary to avoid measures that would harm human lives under many perspectives without obtaining important results in the fight against Covid-19.

As such, CME invited the government to focus on better data analysis and publicity, better communication strategy and strengthen research.

For example, Ferlito said the average age of deaths related to Covid-19 in Italy is 81 years and 67.2% of the patients who passed away with or by Covid-19 had three or more different pathologies.

He said the data suggested that school opening is not a real issue, while elderly people or people with different pathologies should minimise their exposure to public places.

“We need a constant update about these data for the case of Malaysia, and we need these data to be public and properly communicated, with an emphasis aimed to protect the most vulnerable groups. 

“While there is no point in locking down the entire population, with huge and dramatic consequences, those subjects that are more at risk needs to be properly informed and helped in protecting themselves,” he said.

CME also suggested two working points — start to move asymptomatic and mild cases to home treatment to avoid stressing the healthcare system and to create unnecessary healthcare clusters; and push the research system to investigate treatments that may be a better alternative to mass vaccination.

At the same time, in evaluating risk when exposed to the right communication, Ferlito said the rakyat should step-up in terms of self-responsibility and consciousness about their role in fighting the virus.

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