AMM: We need targeted lockdowns, not blanket CMCO

ADOPT a “middle path” by issuing targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO) instead of enforcing a blanket conditional movement control order (CMCO) across Malaysia.

In a statement, the Academy Of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM) said the current set-up would only cause much disruption to the economy and people.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) had recommended that until a vaccine is found, we must follow a ‘middle path’ and learn to co-exist with the virus.

“This will help minimise suffering and deaths, without affecting the economy and public life. If Malaysia is to beat COVID-19, we must first learn to live with it.

“The blanket CMCO will take a toll on small- and medium-enterprises (SME). Prolonged school shutdown will have an impact on students and there is also a rise in domestic violence cases,” it said.

Three days ago, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that all but three states in Malaysia will be placed under CMCO from Nov 9 to Dec 6.

The three states excluded are Perlis, Pahang and Kelantan.

AMM said based on the data produced by the Health Ministry, the number seems to look like the infection rate was still manageable as long as the public follows the standard operating procedures (SOP).

“The ministry cites the basic reproductive number, R (sometimes also referred to as R0 or Rt), as a metric for decision making on MCOs.

“It was reported yesterday the R in the country is around 0.95 compared to 2.2 at the start of September. This improvement indicates that despite relatively high infection rates seen in Sabah, Selangor and Penang, the infections are still well-contained,” it stated.

AMM further noted that based on the 14-day incidence rate from Oct 21 to Nov 3, many states do not require CMCO.

It said that apart from Negeri Sembilan, other states like Kedah, Perak, Terengganu, Johor, and Melaka recorded relatively low infection rates.

“However, we acknowledge the numbers don’t cover the full picture and is not the same as estimating R, which involves complex data calculation that only the Government is privy to.

“That is why many have urged the Government to share data with researchers, health professional organisations and other official bodies which may support them in the battle against COVID-19.

“Transparency will not only allow scientists to better understand COVID-19 in Malaysia, it will also reinforce public trust and boost compliance of SOP,” it remarked.

As such, AMM urged the Government to explain scientific reasons for the SOP and restrictions imposed to raise compliance level among the public.

“And SOPs cannot constantly change over time. Moreover, the message must be consistent with action as advised by the WHO.

“If in doubt, such as the recent uncertainty over ‘checking in’ at petrol stations, the Health Ministry must lead by providing clear, evidence-based recommendations before any penalties for non-compliance are enforced,” it suggested.

AMM added that Government officials and politicians also have a responsibility to lead by example and abide by the recommended guidelines.

“This will reinforce trust in the Government’s advice and ensures cooperation from the public,” it further stated.




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