JOHOR BAHRU- Malaysian health authorities do not expect Covid-19 to be fully eliminated but to continue transmission occasionally. The actions by the government are strengthening border control and movement control, whereas the public is urged to practice social distancing by staying home, as well as maintaining good personal hygiene.
The nationwide partial lockdown has enabled Malaysia to preserve the health care system capacity. As for the plan for the public, Dr Noor Hisham said that as long as there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, which could take a year or two, the public’s precautionary measures are the new norm.
Covid-19 is unlike a common flu. There is still no effective treatment or vaccine to date. When the condition gets critical, the pain will be unbearable that every breath will be a struggle and excruciating.
When it gets fatal, it is like drowning slowly from within as the lungs are destroyed by the virus. If without control measures for mitigation, such as the forced social distancing through the recent Movement Control Order (MCO), the number of critical patients will soon cripple the whole healthcare system Malaysia.
To effectively control the current COVID-19 situation, the Malaysian Government has implemented different levels of Movement Control Order (MCO) in the areas with the presence of COVID-19 cases, depending on the number of active cases in the area. To date, there are 60 laboratories in Malaysia which can test 41,000 samples daily.
Majority of the Malaysians were aware of the 3Ws — wash, wear and warn, but they are doing less well on critical avoidance of the 3Cs — crowded places, confined spaces and close conversations, and this is undoubtedly one of the drivers of transmission.
Although the majority of the respondents look forward to visiting malls again in the long run, in the near term, most would continue to be wary about the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus as only 26% of those who will visit malls post-MCO stated that they will go to the malls immediately after the MCO is lifted against 74% who reckoned that they would only visit when the need arises.
In envisioning the situation post-MCO, close to 47% of the respondents stated that they will spend no longer than the necessary time while 25% were uncertain and will wait-and-see before deciding.
About 28% were confident that the time spent will be no different from pre-MCO. Prior to the MCO, 74% of the respondents stated that they spend around one to three hours when they visit a mall; 19% spent three to five hours, 4% spent less than an hour while 3% spent more than five hours in a mall.
When asked about the possible factors that could prevent them from visiting malls post-MCO, over half of the respondents expressed their concerns over safety and hygiene (53%). Indeed, the Covid-19 has placed safety and hygiene a top priority for shoppers going forward which in turn will shape how malls will evolve now and beyond.
Another 20% of the respondents said there may be no need to visit the malls as they could get the things or services they need from other places or avenues.
Other factors that could keep shoppers away from malls are that they have already gotten used to shopping online (12%) during the MCO, they enjoy the online shopping experience more than a visit to the mall (8%) and are attracted to online freebies and discounts offered (6%).
The public should instead practice ‘3W’, which is frequently washing hands with water and soap; wearing face mask especially in public places or when encountering people who are having fever and flu; practice caution by avoiding handshakes, staying at home and seeking treatment if developing symptoms related to Covid-19, among others.
Those in the high-risk categories such as children, infants, the elderly and the disabled need to be protected and individuals who feel unwell and show symptoms (of Covid-19) are urgently required to undergo a health examination.
It takes time for the MCO to make an impact on the statistics due to the lag in the 2-week incubation time before the symptoms appear for those less immune. No one is invincible to Covid-19 even if a very healthy person.
Individuals will never know if they are infected unless they get tested. Occasionally having a call by hearing familiar voices or seeing familiar faces through video call can be therapeutic to avoid coping it alone.
The mental wellbeing has yet to be promoted as one of the new normal of post-Covid-19. Instead of social distancing, what is needed now is physical distancing but with social bonding so that people do not feel isolated.
By PUTERI QURRATU AINI- Sunday, 27 November 2020
- News Straits Times
- Edge Prop
- Code Blue