Clarion Call for Malaysians To Be extra Vigilant of possible rise in the number of Covid-19 Cases

By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye


The warning by the Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah of a possible rise in the number of Covid-19 cases is a clarion call to all Malaysians to be extra vigilant in our common efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Make no mistake, the threat is real and we let our guard down at our own peril. We must never be complacent.

He based his extrapolation on the fact that over the past three days the Covid-19 reproduction number(Rt) had risen to 1.0, the highest since the beginning of March.

Malaysia is currently ranked 45th in the list of 216 countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is currently in the pandemic’s third wave which started worldwide in Sept last year. This wave is expected to be worse than the last two.

So, if we were diligently following all the SOPs in place before, it is even more important to follow them now, especially as some restrictions have been relaxed or modified since.

Here is where the public can assist the law enforcers to ensure 100 per cent compliance.

If you see anybody not wearing masks or not keeping a safe physical distance, it is all right, and indeed our duty, to gently advise that person.

By violating SOPs that person is not only endangering himself, but he is also putting at grave risk, the lives of his relatives and friends.

Taking every precaution against the dreaded disease is like driving on the right side of the road. Driving on the right side is the accepted norm of all those who use the highways, and has been since the beginning of time (or thereabouts).

And so, we have to consider the current SOPs also in the same light. If we can follow the traffic rules because they protect the lives of all road users, we must also not hesitate to follow all the SOPs which are in place to protect not only road users, but also everyone in the country.

Doubts have been created about the ability to inoculate 9.4 million people between now and august which is a requisite to achieve 80 per cent herd immunity.

This is due to two main reasons:

First, the existence of anti-vaxxers, naysayers, skepticism over what some see as the practice of double standards, and general lethargy.

This must be adequately and relentlessly addressed by the Government. In this effort, the Covid-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee should seek the help and cooperation of community-based NGOs and religious bodies, as well as start messaging campaigns in various languages to allay unfounded fears.

Second, the long waiting period for those who are not in the critical category.

It would help, if at some stage, the Government allows private medical centres and private clinics to purchase the vaccines and vaccinate those who can afford to pay.

These steps will go a long way to expedite the 80 per cent vaccination target, and thus reduce the period of stress and anxiety that is now enveloping the nation.

This pandemic has affected every single person in this country in one way or another, at one time or another.

Let’s redouble our efforts to flatten the curve. Together we can do it.


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