The government should present a smart and flexible exit plan strategy and blueprint to Parliament to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19 outbreak and to quickly revive the economy devastated by the pandemic
We have started the fourth phase of the movement control order (MCO) until May 12.
In the next 12 – 24 months, we must adapt to abnormal times, which will be the “new normal” to be able to live with the Covid-19 virus until an effective vaccine is developed and widely available.
This must be based on ramping up Malaysia’s capacity for testing, contact tracing and quarantine and the universal adoption of “social distancing” by all Malaysians, whether at work or play.
This is not just in Malaysia, but throughout the world, as the outbreak has reached 216 countries and territories, 177 of which have reported fatalities. French Guiana and Chad reported their first fatalities two days ago.
When Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18, 2020, global death toll stood at 8,925 deaths. In the past six weeks, the global death toll has increased by more than 25 times to 226,893 cases. China, which had led the world in the early period of the pandemic in both confirmed cases and deaths, has dropped out of the Top Ten countries for Covid-19 deaths and will drop out of the Top Ten countries for total confirmed cases later this week.
The 18 countries which have recorded four-digit death toll of over 1,000 Covid-19 deaths are:
- United States - 61,112
- Italy - 27,682
- United Kingdom - 26,097
- Spain - 24,275
- France - 24,087
- Belgium - 7,501
- Germany - 6,399
- Iran - 5,957
- Brazil - 5,150
- Netherlands - 4,711
- China - 4,633
- Turkey - 3,081
- Canada - 2,954
- Sweden - 2,462
- Switzerland - 1,716
- Mexico - 1,569
- Ireland 1,190
- India 1,079
Globally, more than three million people have been infected with Covid-19. It took 92 days to reach the first million cases, 13 days to reach the second million and 12 days to reach the third million. The figure now is 3,200,414 cases/
Malaysia had done fairly well in bringing the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak under control, but we should not be complacent and must always be on the alert and adopt a flexible, creative and nimble strategy to prevent future Covid-19 waves and to rebuild the economy devastated by the pandemic.
When Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18, we were the top 18th country in the world in terms of number of cases, and top 33rd country in terms of Covid-19 deaths. We are now No. 58 in world ranking in terms of number of Covid-19 cases and No. 48 in terms of Covid-19 deaths.
The government has announced relaxation of restrictions where sectors that were allowed to operate at limited capacity during the first three phases of MCO will be permitted to work at full capacity starting today.
We are now in unchartered territory in easing the restrictions to strike a proper balance between containing the disease and reviving the economy and rebuilding the nation.
We should follow the practices and the debate, both in the country and in other countries – to learn from the mistakes of other nations, emulate their successes and develop our own best practices in the era of pandemic economics.
The French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, when outlining the French government’s national exit plan strategy to the French Parliament said it was implausible to think the virus would just “disappear of it’s own accord” and stressed that people have to learn to “live with the virus” until an effective vaccine is developed and available widely.
Using medical terms, Philippe said “we have to learn to live with the virus …no vaccine will be available in the short term, there is no treatment and we don’t have what they call herd immunity”.
Describing the situation as unique, Philippe said:
“Who could have envisaged a France where schools, universities, cafés, restaurants, the majority of businesses, libraries … beaches, stadia … would be closed. We have never known this situation in our country. Not during the war, not during the occupation, not during previous epidemics.”
It is not just France, but all the nations of the world have never experienced such an unprecedented situation.
The government must draw up a smart and flexible exit plan strategy and blueprint to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19 outbreak and to quickly revive the economy devastated by the pandemic. We should try to avoid nation-wide or even state-wide lockdowns in future.
This exit plan strategy and blueprint should be presented to Parliament for deliberation and approval.