WITH the Government imposing a new movement control order (MCO) to contain the spread of COVID-19, a health expert has urged everyone to keep their expectations reasonable as the scenario is different now.
“We cannot expect MCO 3.0 to have the same effect as MCO 1.0. During the first lockdown, we were not sure on how to deal with the pandemic. So, everything was shut down and gradually reopened as the infection rate went down.
“But now, we have learnt much from our first attempt. Plus, MCO 3.0 is different as much of the economic sectors are still open. The impact will be different,” International Islamic University Malaysia (UIAM) Faculty of Medicine, Epidemiology, Professor Dr Jamalludin AB Rahman told FocusM.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Government would impose MCO across Malaysia, from May 12 until June 7.
He made the decision after chairing the National Security Council (NSC) meeting yesterday. It was a sharp reversal from his earlier stand that he would not impose a countrywide lockdown anymore.
However, Muhyiddin said that all economic sectors will be allowed to operate, under strict standard operating procedure (SOP).
Jamalludin agreed with the Government’s decision, saying that the healthcare sector is currently overwhelmed and frontliners needed a breather from the rising number of infections.
“Previously, the public was also confused as the SOP differed from one place to another, depending on the nature of the lockdown at their areas.
“Now, it’s standard across the board and no more confusions. However. I wish to reiterate that we cannot compare this MCO with the first one. The details are not the same so we must adjust our expectations accordingly,” he opined.
On that note, Jamalludin urged the Government to embark on two issues; which are on why the Conditional and Enhanced MCOs did not achieve the desired results and how to move forward in the years to come.
For the first issue, the health expert said it was important for the Government to review its targetted lockdown methods as Malaysia cannot afford to go under nationwide MCO constantly.
“Why did it fail? We must study them. For example, China also imposes targetted lockdowns but they are very strict, so much so, that no one is permitted to enter or leave the designated areas.
No more double standards, please
On moving forward, Jamalludin stressed the need to achieve herd immunity, by vaccinating at least 60% of the population.
He added many nations have drafted a long-term plan to recovery, as some indicate that COVID-19 will only come to a “manageable level” by second quarter of next year.
“For example, we need to make plans on how to move forward if things get better and how to move if COVID-19 is still around.
“And let the public know of the plans to help us go about it. It will also reduce the trust deficit between the Government and public,” Jamalludin stressed.
He also reminded the public not to compare Malaysia’s COVID-19 situation to other nations, as each country is going through its own unique challenges in dealing with the unprecedented situation.
“In fact, we cannot even compare ourselves with Thailand and Indonesia. There is no one formula that can be applied across the board when it comes to dealing with COVID-19,” he added.
On related matter, Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar lauded the Government’s move, although some may disagree with it.
He also said Malaysia faltered in dealing with COVID-19 following the success of MCO 1.0, and learnt little from its second and third waves.
“I hope this time, the Government will be strict on SOP compliance. No more double standards. Reduce rhetoric, being apologetic and all that.
“The Government should also restrategise our pandemic management by roping in experts from outside the system,” Zainal remarked, in a Facebook post. – May 11, 2021.