Get ready for the ‘new normal’, post-MCO


A man wearing a face mask as he waits in the queue to purchase groceries at a supermarket in Sunway Meranti, Petaling Jaya. – AZMAN GHANI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Malaysians will find out within the next three days if the movement control order (MCO), which came into force on March 18, will be further extended.

After 53 days, many want their lives to return to normal and are hoping that the MCO is lifted when the current phase ends on May 12.

But this is not a simple or trivial matter. It is a matter of life and economy.

The government will have to look into every aspect of the current Covid-19 situation before making a decision, with the advice of the Health Ministry.

If there is a fear that the economy will continue to slow down, then the government should decide not to extend the MCO – but what's more important now are the lives of the rakyat.

Nobody wants a repeat of what occurred in Hokkaido here in Malaysia, with the Japanese island struck by another surge of Covid-19 cases after lifting the lockdown perhaps a little too early.

While the fourth phase of the MCO to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection in Malaysia ends in three days, the government has already implemented the conditional MCO from May 4, which allowed almost all business sectors to reopen.

As of Friday (May 8), Covid-19 figures had shown an encouraging development as 88 patients were discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 4,864, which is 74.43% of the 6,535 positive cases.

Additionally, no new deaths have been recorded in two consecutive days and the death toll remains at 107. This positive sign is expected to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infection and enable the country to enter the recovery phase.

Since the outbreak of the disease, some have complained about being barred from entering supermarkets and not being able to purchase their everyday necessities because they did not wear a face mask.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that not wearing a face mask in public does not constitute an offence, and supermarkets – or any business premises – cannot reject customers not wearing one, let alone to have them detained or arrested.

This, he said, is provided for in the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 or Act 342.

He also said that the Health Ministry had issued guidelines and reminded the public that only those who were Covid-19 symptomatic should wear face masks.

However, it may not be compulsory but everyone is highly encouraged to wear a face mask to prevent Covid-19 infection.

So let's inculcate the new normal when going to public places – as prevention is always better than the cure.

We have yet to win this war against the pandemic. We should get used to the new normal, practise self-control and avoid crowding and congestion at any place.

We have heard this almost every day from Ismail Sabri and Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah during their daily press conferences.

It would indeed be sad if all those reminders fell on deaf ears. – Bernama

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