Together we can come out of the woods

THE move by the government to reimpose the movement control order to wage a tougher war against Covid-19 was unavoidable.

With the rising number of Covid-19 cases – yesterday’s number breached the 4,000 mark for the first time – and government hospitals running out of beds to accommodate the sick, there really is no other choice but to reimpose the MCO for the well-being of Malaysians.Consequently, a state of emergency was declared to allow the authorities more power to urgently deal with this pandemic.

According to Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the Emergency gives government the authority to direct owners of premises including private hospitals to allow their buildings to be used for Covid-19 mitigation purposes, or the army to deal with illegal immigrants.

According to Ismail Sabri, the Health Ministry proposed that private hospitals assist with treating those with mild Covid-19 symptoms or who are asymptomatic; the ministry is currently discussing the proposal with private hospitals.

The reason for all this is to ensure that Malaysia’s already stressed healthcare system is not overwhelmed, as happened in Italy in early 2020 when the country rapidly ran out of hospital beds to treat its sick, resulting in the collapse of its entire healthcare system.

The best thing to do, of course, is to bring down the reproduction number (R-nought or R0) of the virus to ensure the disease does not get out of hand.

Malaysia is in a critical situation, according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, with the current R0 estimated to be around 1.16 or higher. Previously, it was less than 1. If it breaches 1.2, he said, daily cases could hit 8,000 by mid-March. With this in view, Dr Noor Hisham said the MCO could be extended to a month.

We cannot lose our grip in the fight against this disease. Malaysians have to hold each other’s hands (metaphorically speaking!) to bring the R0 below 1 as soon as possible to avoid a prolonged lockdown that could devastate the economy and our livelihoods.

Everyone has a role in this and we all have to work together as Malaysians, regardless of race, religion and political beliefs, to beat this pandemic.

Each and every Malaysian has to comply with the SOP diligently. We all know what that means; wash hands, wear face masks (properly, over your nose and mouth and not under your chin!) in public and use sanitisers. Most importantly, stay home unless you have a legitimate need to go out.

With the spirit of Malaysia Boleh, we can do this together to come out of the woods.

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