Unprecedented Deepavali this year – will there be unprecedented Christmas on December 25 and unprecedented Chinese New Year on Feb. 12, 2021
It was an unprecedented Deepavali this year – a new norm for Malaysian Hindus to celebrate the Festival of Lights for family members, friends and neighbours without the traditional Open House.
The question is whether Christmas in Malaysia and the world this year will also unprecedented. Further on – whether Thaipusam on 28th January 2021 and Chinese New Year on 12 February 2021 will also be unprecedented and will have to be celebrated under new norms with the continuing rampage of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic is raging unchecked, recording a record-high of daily increase of 656,189 Covid-19 cases with over 1.3 million fatalities, while in the United States it is registering a record-high daily increase of 183,527 infections and 1,395 fatalities to reach a cumulative total of 11,064,364 Covid-19 cases and 249,985 Covid-19 deaths.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the United States have increased by two million cases since Americans went to vote in the US Presidential elections on November 3.
US President Donald Trump, who disappeared into the White House, appeared briefly yesterday to declare that his administration will not “under any circumstances”, go through a national lockdown because of the Covid-19 epidemic.
This is because the 12-member Covid advisory board announced by the 46th United States President-Elect Joe Biden is considering a nationwide lockdown, shutting down business and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks to keep the Covid-19 pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) does not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of controlling Covid-19. The exception is when there is a need to buy time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance resources and to protect health workers who are exhausted.
We in Malaysia are not in the dire straits of the Americans.
Instead of a cumulative total of over 11 million Covid-19 cases and nearly a quarter of a million of Covid-19 fatalities in the United States, which tops the world in the number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities, we are placed in the world ranking of nations at No. 85 with 45,095 Covid-19 cases and at No. 99 with 304 Covid-19 fatalities.
But this is no reason for celebration, for we are far behind South Korea, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Cambodia in Asia in our fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.
Malaysians deserve better results both in terms of Covid-19 infections and fatalities.
In fighting the third wave of the Covid-19 epidemic, Malaysia must learn from the lessons of the last 10 months of the Covid-19 epidemic, not only in Malaysia but in the world, and the government must adopt a more flexible mindset incorporating the “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” concept which emphasized the “focussed protection” and “targeted approach” to save lives and livelihoods.