International border reopening a sigh of relief for all – Lee Lam Thye

KOTA KINABALU: The announcement that the Government may reopen our international borders after being closed for two years is indeed welcome news for all, particularly for the tourism-related industries, for investors, and for families with children and relatives living abroad.

It’s a great sigh of relief for all to see the authorities for having generally succeeded so far in creating the conditions necessary for making this a reality.

This is also a positive step forward considering our high vaccination rates and the capabilities of our public health amenities to handle the kind of health crisis that we have been facing these many months.

As we prepare to return to a sense of normalcy of the kind we were used to, pre-covid-19, we must not let our guard down.

As is evident in Malaysia and the rest of the world, the Omicron variant is highly infectious and could cause continuous disruptions to our lives and livelihood, although to a much lower and less serious extent than during the prevalence of the Delta variant.

As such, it is good that the authorities are considering making it a condition for international travellers to be tested for covid before their departure and on arrival in Malaysia, as recommended by the Health Ministry.

We also need to be mindful of other precautions that we have to take. Besides observing personal hygiene, wearing masks and physical distancing, there is also the need to avoid crowds.

During the current holiday season, it is common to see crowds of people in restaurants, clubs and hotels. Some of the patrons have not been strictly following the SOPs.

This situation is likely to get worse in the weeks ahead, especially with the forthcoming elections in Johore.

In that regard, the authorities must not relax the SOPs even though some quarters have been asking for greater mobility to allow, as they claim, the democratic system to run more transparently.

Democratic systems are important but even more important are people’s lives.

We can give free rein to our democratic systems after we have reached the stage that we are all safe from Covid-19. Until then, let’s continue to be cautious and strictly follow all SOPs.


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