Time to seriously consider the end of movement restrictions although the government must be ready to impose targeted restrictions in the event of a resurgence of Covid-19 outbreak
The time has come for the government to seriously consider the end of movement restrictions although it must be ready to impose targeted restrictions in the event of a resurgence of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Yesterday, the Health director-general Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said Malaysia is in the final phase of Covid-19 recovery following the implementation of movement curbs beginning March 18, and that if the people follow the SOPs, there might not be a third wave in Malaysia.
Dr Noor Hisham said “R-Naught” (R0) – which measures how contagious a disease is – readings have dropped to 0.3 during the conditional movement-control order (CMCO) that took effect on May 4 from the 0.6 registered during the stricter MCO period.
He said: “Based on modelling… before the MCO, the infectivity rate, or R0, was 3.55, meaning one person could infect 3.55 others. When we implemented the MCO, we reduced the R0 to 0.6, and now, it is 0.3.”
Malaysia must not be reckless like Mexico, which is the third highest country in the world in daily death toll but its President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador has just again declared victory in its war against the pandemic and prepared to re-open the country.
A month ago, on April 26, with 1,351 deaths and 14,677 infections, the Mexican President claimed it had managed “to tame” the coronavirus. A month after those claims, Mexico had suffered 9,415 deaths and 84,627 cases, and the President is again claiming victory, although the government admits the true number is probably considerably higher, with some experts saying its double the number of deaths.
The latest news is that frontline workers in Mexico City’s hospitals are planning a national march tomorrow to demand appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Nurses and other health workers account for about a quarter of all of Mexico’s coronavirus infections, government data shows, one of the highest rates in the world.
It is most ironic that the three world leaders who mocked the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic are leading the three countries which top the world in the number of daily Covid-19 confirmed deaths, viz President Donald Trump’s United States with a total death toll of 105,550 and 1,816,412 cases, President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil with a death toll of 28,834 and 498,440 cases; and President Lolpex Obrador’s Mexico with a death toll of 9,415 and 84,627 cases.
In the last 24 hours, these were the top three countries with daily increase of Covid-19 deaths, viz, 1,008 for United States, 890 for Brazil and 371 for Mexico. The other top ten countries with the highest daily toll in the last 24 hours are United Kingdom (215 deaths), India (205), Russia (181), Peru (141), Italy (111), Canada (94) and Pakistan (78).
That the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, after five months, is still getting worse could be seen from the fact that yesterday was third consecutive day when the daily increase of Covid-19 confirmed cases was the highest since the outbreak viz:
May 30 – 123,669 cases
May 29 – 125,511 cases
May 28 – 116,304 cases
The total increase of Covid-19 confirmed cases in the last two days, i.e. 249,180 is already more than the global total of Covid-19 confirmed cases when Malaysia imposed the movement control order (MCO) on March 18 – 218,910 cases.
When Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18, United States, Brazil and Mexico were respectively, in terms of cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, ranked No. 6, 24 and 51, with 9,269, 529 and 93 Covd-19 cases respectively. Malaysia was then ranked No. 18 with 790 cases.
Now Malaysia is ranked No. 62 with 7,762 cases, while United States is No. 1 with more than 1.8 million cases, Brazil No. 2 with 498,440 cases and Mexico is No. 15 with 84,627 cases.
Mexico has even beaten China, which was the top country for Covid-19 cases for nearly three months, as China is now ranked world’s No. 17 with 82,999 cases.
We must not learn from the reckless ones, who mock at the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic like Trump who at one time was talking away the pandemic and promising it would disappear “one day, like a miracle”.
We must learn from countries which have successfully contained the coronavirus, how they are alert to the possibility of a resurgence while forging ahead to re-open their economies, like China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand.
It indeed a near miracle that China, for instance, is completing the testing of the entire population of 11 million in Wuhan in two weeks to avoid a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.
We must shift the public narrative to the future, how Malaysians are to learn to live with the virus until a vaccine is developed and widely available, which may take two to five years, contain the disease and prevent any resurgence and most importantly, to revive the national economy and social life at the quickest possible time.
When will the government declare Parliament as an essential service, end the lockdown of Parliament and allow MPs to perform their constitutional role of oversight and scrutiny of the Executive during the Covid-19 outbreak?