It is an established fact that Malaysia has done very well in containing the COVID-19 virus, thanks to both the governmental bodies of mandating effective precautionary measures and coordinating its health departments to properly handle positive cases at its door and throughout the country.
As for us, the common folk, we went through a hundred days of imposed self-caging, keeping ourselves masked and distanced from other members of the populace, and sanitized the living hell out of our hands.
Though we have had nearly ten thousand cases, we have managed to flatten the infection curve together in these four months, and Malaysia ranks among the highest in the ASEAN recovery rate of Covid-19 cases at 96.4% with a 1.41% mortality rate. As a result, the restrictions around our lives have been loosened to allow a gradual recovery for our withered economy. Businesses can once more operate in regular hours; curfews are lifted and interstate travel is permitted as well.
Technically, we are allowed to stretch our legs for a bit, right? We cooperated with the powers that be and held up on our end to survive through this difficult period, so it’s only fitting we are trying to normalize our lives again.
But wait! There’s more. Mere weeks after entering the RCMO period we have had reports of citizens no longer observing proper guidelines in social distancing, and various business outlets, small and big alike, are not properly handling standard operating procedures. We’ve also recently started to hit some double digits in COVID cases again and the Prime Minister has hinted at another lockdown, but that doesn’t seem to deter citizens who seem keener to resume their pre-COVID routines as if the crisis never existed to begin with.
Here is a hard knock of reality for you dear reader. All of us, myself included, are not, if ever getting the privileges that we once had before this pandemic struck. While it is fortunate that we are luckier than a lot of other countries, that doesn’t mean we should be undermining the efforts of the agents that have worked hard to curb the virus spread because we’re all being eager beavers. Low infection cases DO NOT equate to freedom from this crisis. History has proven repeatedly in many pandemics, for example the Black Plague, the Spanish Flu and even the 2009 swine flu pandemic have flared up in periods when people have been lulled into a false sense of security after a period of perceived inactivity. While it is recorded that more than 85% percent of the populace are recorded as asymptomatic, which means we either have no symptoms or only have mild displays of it, we should not ignore about how the virus poses risks towards those with pre-existing health conditions that places them in graver danger.
Our struggle against the virus is far from over. The authorities have already started working towards preventing a very possible second wave attacking the country as the threat of living with an infectious disease looming over a community has forced us to acknowledge that we have to adopt changes and new habits for a foreseeable period. Until there is a vaccine available, it is still a matter of WHEN we get infected by the virus and not IF we get it. And the only thing that we can do at least is proactively prevent transmission of the virus.
So please get your heads out of your egos and spare a thought for those who are trying to make do in this crisis. Until and unless everyone plays their roles in adhering to the SOPs, only then can we progress properly in this recovery phase and get ourselves a semblance of normalcy. This is not rocket science. Just wear your masks, keep social distancing, get your temperatures checked, and sanitize your hands. If you see someone or witness establishments not observing these guidelines, reprimand them and encourage them to play their parts. Another lockdown is not an option, as it will incur greater losses to our economy and to our already impoverished lives.
Complacency is not the virus Malaysians. Don’t let it infect you.