We cannot afford to have a second wave that will unleash untold miseries, hering to the SOP during the RMCO phase, stressed Mustafa K Anuar.
On 1 July, the recovery movement control order saw the reopening of activities and locations, such as cinemas, theatres, swimming pools, meetings, conferences, seminars, courses and training sessions, involving concentrations of people.
This is largely aimed to help resuscitate the soft economy, which has been badly hit by the pandemic since the movement control order was enforced.
However, as cautioned by the government, standard operating procedures must be strictly adhered to, to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic is effectively contained.
A grave problem may arise if the new normal morphs over time into normalcy to the extent that many Malaysians may become careless or lackadaisical, particularly regarding social distancing.
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If we need reminding, the virus infection may not necessarily originate from foreigners as many Malaysians suspect. The recent Pedas cluster, for example, shows that it started among Malaysian workers and later spread to their foreign peers.
As it is, some malls, for example, are slowly attracting sizeable crowds, while public transport is allowed a full-capacity load. Human contact becomes a concern here.
Cinemas, among other popular establishments, are ready to admit their patrons who’ve been dying to watch much delayed and talked-about releases, such as a James Bond’s thriller with a telling title, No Time To Die. Activities involving cinemas, theatres and other live events are not allowed to exceed a capacity of 250 attendees so that social distancing can be enforced, and it is also subject to the venue’s capacity, said the government.
Strict adherence to standard operating procedures is vital in the fight against the epidemic, especially when the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued recently a warning of “a new and dangerous phase” of the pandemic caused by the public’s complacency in staying at home and restricting their movements.
Countries that have succeeded in containing the coronavirus are experiencing an increase in cases owing to religious or leisure gatherings or gatherings in close quarters ever since the restrictions were relaxed. South Korea, for instance, has recorded a second wave of infections around Seoul, which is a cause for concern.
This is perhaps the underlying reason the current Malaysian government appeared to have trepidations about holding parliamentary sessions in earlier months, even though the much-needed meeting involved fewer than the stipulated 250 people. There are 222 parliamentarians in total.
We cannot afford to have a second wave that will unleash untold miseries to many Malaysians, particularly the vulnerable in society who may not have the wherewithal to combat the virus, as well as economic resilience.
Another round of the coronavirus will also wreak havoc to the already battered economy. Frontline staff will be subjected again to health risks, stress and fatigue. More people will be laid off from their jobs, with the breadwinners not having enough to put food on the table. As it is, single mums, for instance, are finding it difficult to provide for their children amid the pandemic and movement control order, especially those who are self-employed or running small businesses.
Many of them, as reported by The Malaysian Insight recently, are in dire straits and have had to depend on government assistance and handouts from volunteer groups to survive. Their economic conditions have become so unbearable that many have experienced mental agony. It can also be a nagging stress on the children.
Given the gravity of the situation, it is not an option to be vigilant about adhering to the standard operating procedures during the recovery movement control order phase. It is a must if we are to survive these murky times.
Source: The Malaysian Insight