Celebrating the Rabbit year, safely

EVERYONE’S celebrating this weekend, whether it’s to usher in the Year of the Rabbit or the long break and the prospect of visiting friends and neighbours in that very Malaysian tradition of open house.

It feels like a long time since we’ve been able to celebrate enthusiastically what with that little thing called a pandemic that’s been dogging us for the past three years.

But with Covid-19 cases in the three figures, travel restrictions completely lifted – not just within our borders but globally, too – and the economy finding its feet, we are well and truly transitioning from a pandemic stage to an endemic one.

It would be remiss of us, though, not to put this reminder out there: We haven’t completely conquered this sneaky virus just yet.

Older folk and those with compromised immune systems are still at risk from Covid-19, and variants and subvariants are still waiting to spread like wildfire.

So you still have to test yourself before travelling anywhere.

Now, the word from health experts is that these new variants can evade antibodies and may not be easily identified by tests.

So if your test result is negative even though you have symptoms, trust what your body is saying and assume the result is a false negative. And, of course, that means staying home and avoiding contact with other family members and anyone outside the household.

We still need to keep to the basic SOP, too, like masking in crowded situations (whether outdoors or indoors in malls, etc, as well as on public transportation), washing hands frequently and making sure vaccinations and boosters are up to date.

As our front page said yesterday, spread the love not the virus.

Let’s also make sure not to spread heartbreak by being safe on the road.

Two million vehicles were expected to be on the North-South Expressway and about 170,000 on the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway during the Chinese New Year exodus.

The same number would, obviously, be travelling back after the celebration so if you didn’t take precautions on the way there, make sure you do on the way back: ensure your car and tyres are in good condition, stop at rest areas when tired, obey traffic laws, and please do not speed.

We’ve survived a pandemic and so many other challenges recently, so let’s make sure we survive the country’s sometimes rather dangerous roads, OK?

Happy Year of the Rabbit, happy holidays and stay safe and healthy everyone!

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