Does Malaysia want to be the world’s top five countries in daily new Covid-19 cases and new Covid-19 deaths?

Yesterday, we broke the 11,000-mark for Covid-19 deaths and today we will break the 1.3 million-mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

At the present rate of Covid-19 deaths, breaking the thousand mark in five or six days, we will break the 15,000-mark for Covid-19 deaths by the 64th National Day on August 31, and going by the present rate of Covid-19 infections, we will reach the cumulative total of 1.5 million Covid-19 cases by August 21 or 22nd and by National Day on August 31, we may have broken the 1.7 million mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.l

Isn’t there anything that the authorities can do to avoid these calamitous numbers?

Yesterday, with 19,991 new Covid-19 cases and 201 new Covid-19 deaths, we became the World’s Top 9th country in daily new Covid-19 cases and the Word’s Top 10th country in daily new Covid-19 deaths.

Do we want to be among the world’s Top Five countries in daily new Covid-19 cases and deaths?

We have already overtaken five of the most populous countries in the world in one or both of these daily Covid-19 developments. Do we want to overtake all of the 10 most populous countries, in one or both daily Covid-19 developments?

The ten most populous countries in the world are:

  1. China 1.44 billion population
  2. India 1.39 billion
  3. United States of America 333 million
  4. Indonesia 276 million
  5. Pakistan 226 million
  6. Nigeria 212 million
  7. Brazil 214 million
  8. Bangladesh 166 million
  9. Russia 146 million
  10. Mexico 130 million

The Malaysian Health Coalition has urged the government to reconsider the relaxed restrictions announced by the Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, on Saturday based on a clear set of publicised criteria grounded in science and evidence-based as only 27 per cent of the resident population of all ages, excluding undocumented migrants, are fully vaccinated; the vaccine inequality in Malaysia ranging from 12 per cent in Sabah to 59 per cent in Labuan; ICUs, hospital wards, emergency departments and quarantine centres at breaking-point and the more transmissible and virulent Delta, Delta Plus and Lambda variants.

Yesterday was the first day of the relaxed restrictions for the fully-vaccinated, but most of the restaurant and eatery operators in phase two of the National Recovery Plan are not ready to allow fully vaccinated customers to dine at their respective premises.

The reasons given for this are worry over the number of positive Covid-19 cases and their workers not being fully vaccinated.

This give the lie to a Minister who had claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic was an indicator that the government had succeeded in managing the pandemic as the people were no longer afraid of Covid-10, as it is the strongest proof that everyone in the country is afraid of Covid-19.

This the reason for the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) calling on the government to open up economic sectors based on company-level vaccination rates with continued adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) and periodical screening of workers.

It said failing to do so will result in more businesses folding up operations with irreparable damage to the economy and the risk of recession with a long recovery period.

FMM said global evidence indicates a fast rollout of vaccines is the answer to reopening and reviving economies regardless of the continued threats of resurgent cases due to new virus variants.

It stressed the importance of ramping up the national immunisation programme so the government may stop segregating essential and non-essential sectors, as businesses are interconnected in a way where essential sectors require support from non-essential sectors.

Will these voices of the people be heard and acted upon by the policy makers to ensure a genuine though belated “whole of society” strategy and approach in the 20-month war against Covid-19 pandemic, where there is a change of objective from “Zero Covid” to “Live with Covid”?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri