THE continued high incidence of Covid-19 infections and the associated deaths were reasons enough to extend the movement control order till the end of June. But the question is this: If by then the numbers do not come down, then will the MCO be further extended?
Obviously this cannot go on forever. There has to come a time when the MCO can, and should, be dispensed with totally.
So what do we do now to ensure our health and safety after June 28?
So far, the measures we have taken to ensure health and safety have not achieved the desired results. We have not learnt our lessons from the past. From the time of the Sabah elections, there have been many other instances when crowds of people have been gathering and have not fully complied with the SOP.
In tackling the pandemic we must make the right decisions after due consultation with all stakeholders and we must be firm in executing those decisions. There must be no policy flip-flops and U-turns.
We must not waste time and resources in non-productive pursuits and discussions, like whether cigarettes and beer are essential items; what factories should be allowed to operate; limiting the number of people in a car to two when more than two people, as a family, live in close proximity.
Let’s all get our acts together and act decisively to combat this pandemic. Pool all our resources, thoughts and actions to accomplish that goal. Since the pandemic began several public health experts from our academic institutions have been very vociferous in giving their views and suggestions on how to deal with the pandemic.
These experts should have been appointed to serve in various advisory committees and offer their views on a wide range of issues related to tackling this pandemic.
At a time like this, one must not be selfish. Everyone, irrespective of his or her status in society, must fall in line and fully comply with the SOP. It is a question of discipline and self-regulation for the sake of our own safety and that of all those on the front lines.
And if lives are more important than livelihoods, as they obviously are, then let’s make a sacrifice and brace ourselves to face the lockdown for another two weeks. Let’s hope there will not be another extension.
It’s all or nothing. Half-hearted measures must make way for full measures, again, for a specified period of time.
And what are these? For one, we must leave no stone unturned in our effort to step up our mass vaccination plans. We must do all that is necessary to ensure there are enough doses of vaccines to achieve herd immunity. The vaccine rollout so far has been slow. It has only picked up recently and 200,000 to 300,000 jabs daily are proposed in the coming days if there are no glitches.
We must aim for adequate vaccine supply and for herd immunity by the end of this year, at the latest.
The people must also play their part. They owe it to their fellow Malaysians to strictly follow the SOP which simply means keeping physical distances, avoiding crowds, washing hands regularly and wearing masks in public.
Every person, without exception, must play his or her part. This is a calling for everyone.
Let this not be a platitude. Make it our commitment, our bounden duty and our sacred responsibility.
Let’s be resolute. Governments can only do so much. We, the people, must do the rest.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
Chairman, Alliance For Safe Community