Fingers crossed as Omicron wave strikes

FOR the first three months of 2021, the average number of Covid-19 cases per day was 3,289 in January, 3,064 in February and 1,443 in March. But then the authorities relaxed the movement restrictions and allowed Ramadan bazaars to operate in addition to night markets from mid-April.

As a result, the average number of Covid-19 cases started to rise again with 2,107 per day in April, 5,279 in May, 5,987 in June, 11,655 in July and 20,419 in August.

On Aug 26, a record high of 24,599 cases were reported within 24 hours.

We started 2022 well with 3,386 cases on Jan 1, dropped to 2,882 on Jan 2 and only 2,342 on Jan 17. But on Jan 26, the number went up to 4,744, the highest over 47 days since Dec 10 at 5,058 cases.

For the first 26 days of January, the average number of Covid-19 cases was 3,342 per day, higher than the 3,064 per day last January. Even if the average per day for the first quarter of this year is 2,583, there is nothing to cheer about, as this was the same figure for last year.

Will the number of Covid-19 cases for last year be repeated in 2022? If so, 2022 will also be another lost year, just like 2020 and 2021 were washouts. Sadly, there is no third time lucky as even more businesses and livelihoods would succumb to the prolonged effects of this pandemic.

On Jan 23, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said there will be no more travel restrictions and that “balik kampung” will be allowed for Hari Raya Aidilfitri in May. If there is an increase in Covid-19 cases, he said, enhanced movement control order would be enforced in the affected areas.

But on Jan 26, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin warned that the number of cases is expected to rise again as the Omicron wave has begun in Malaysia. Apart from keeping our fingers crossed, what else can we do?

YS CHAN , Kuala Lumpur

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