Onus on us to keep virus away


Social distancing is well-practised by retailers and shoppers at a mall in Petaling Jaya.

MORE than a month and a half into the movement control order (MCO) and it looks like there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia.

We seem to be on the right trajectory and hopefully, the decline in cases continues but we should bear in mind that we are not in the clear.

Since the conditional MCO took effect on May 4, there has been an increase in the number of people heading out of their homes.

Many returned to work or to do their daily shopping. Inevitably, this results in higher exposure to one another with people moving about.

It remains to be seen but if we let our guard down and disregard hygiene and social distancing, then there is a good chance that things may go awry.

It should also be at the back of everyone’s mind that without a vaccine to fight the Covid-19 scourge, it remains uncertain when we will truly be out of the woods – locally and globally as this pandemic is far from over.

When Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the MCO would be partially relaxed and gave the green light to almost all sectors to resume operations, it was met with diametrically opposing responses in various states.

In spite of the debate on whether the MCO should take precedence over the economy, with fewer Covid-19 cases being reported by the Health Ministry, we are likely to see the restrictions relaxed further.

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how finding the balance between implementing social control measures to prevent another outbreak and working towards fully reopening the economy will play out in coming weeks.

As much as the health authorities, police and military personnel are doing a good job, it is not solely their duty to keep Covid-19 at bay –the onus is actually on us to keep safe and practise social distancing.

We must still do our part. Small actions within communities can have a meaningful impact but if we are complacent, it can negate all the good work and sacrifices done by our frontliners so far.

We now have strict standard operating procedures when going about our business.

Some have commented that while the measures implemented are sound, they can also be excessive.

My colleague shared her recent experience at a shopping centre where she got her temperature scanned six times in a span of one hour.

It just shows that things will need to be reviewed and streamlined as we move forward.

We must also not be fooled into thinking that restarting the economy supersedes the MCO as the prospect of jail time or RM1,000 fine still awaits those who flout the rules.

However, despite numerous warnings from the health authorities, there are those who are lulled into a false sense of security or just irresponsible.

Everyone is eager for things to return to normal.

As much as we want to believe that these people mean no harm and are just adapting to the situation, we cannot overlook those who disregard the law as they could be endangering not just their own lives but those around them.

All I am hoping for is that we do not forget that all of us have made sacrifices and we stand to lose a lot more if we become complacent.

Always stay prudent – even when the MCO, which has been extended till June 9, is lifted for good.

That is the best way for us to be ready to face the future with confidence.

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