Retail marketing executive Effendi Elias, 27, from Kuala Lumpur, is dismayed that the movement control order will be reinstated but feels that it’s something that is unavoidable and for the best.
“After being able to move around fairly freely for so many months since the recovery MCO last year, it’s difficult to be restricted to a 10km radius from home again and not being able to go out together with my housemates, ” he says.
At 6pm this evening, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the MCO will be implemented in six states – Penang, Selangor, Federal Territory (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Melaka, Johor and Sabah – which have a critical number of cases, for 14 days from Wednesday Jan 13 (12.01am) to Tuesday Jan 26. Interstate and inter district movement has also been prohibited.
Effendi who lives with two other housemates often go jogging and hiking together, but during the soon to be implemented MCO, that will no longer be possible. He will, instead, run alone in the neighbourhood as he is yet unsure if hiking will be allowed during this time.
He will also no longer be able to “balik kampung” to visit his parents in Johor Baru, as planned this weekend.
“I’ve been going back to see them almost every other weekend since the recovery MCO, ” he says. “Both of them are elderly so I’d like to spend as much time with them as possible, and of course see my nephew and niece (sister’s children) too, ” says Effendi.
“But understandably, with so many cases – more than 2,000 daily – we need to curb the spread of the infection so it’s necessary to implement the MCO again and I feel that the Prime Minister made the right decision, although it may be an unpopular one and some people may object, ” he says.
For engineer Edwin Ling, 29, and his wife, Marina Liew, 27, who is an IT executive, the announcement was “no surprise”.
“We kind of expected the MCO to be implemented again – seeing such an drastic spike in cases recently, ” says Ling.
“Initially, we thought that the conditional MCO would be continued, with tightened SOPs, but we believe that might not control the spread of the Covid-19 virus, ” adds Liew.
The couple have twin daughters, aged five, and have been working from home since the MCO in March last year. They are only at their office on a rotational basis twice a week for Ling, and one week every month for Liew. To them, that has become the norm, and they will continue working from home during the second MCO.
“Fortunately, my mother lives with us so she’s able to help us with the children while we’re working, ” says Liew.
But the couple is concerned that now they can’t go out as a family for provisions since only two persons per household are allowed to go out. They also won't be able to dine out at their favourite restaurant every weekend which they have been doing as a family since the recovery MCO in the middle of last year.
“We will also have to skip our family walks in the park since the five of us would exceed the SOP restrictions, ” says Ling.
“Although it may be inconvenient, but the important thing is that the family is safe and the number of Covid-19 cases decreases, ” he adds.
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