TAKING into consideration of the ongoing National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced that the Government may no longer need to impose a blanket movement control order (MCO) nationwide or statewide.
Rather, targeted movement control restrictions will be implemented based on localities and imposed on specific clusters.
For many Malaysians, this is certainly good news. After months of lockdown after lockdown, fewer restrictions and more freedom to move around really does sound like a tantalising idea, doesn’t it?
But still, as doubt persists, the question becomes inevitable: is it too soon to do away with a blanket MCO?
The answer is, unfortunately, a resounding yes.
There is a collective sigh of relief now that the number of new COVID-19 cases in the recent days have fallen to just over 1,000 cases from the more than 5,000 peak a few weeks back, and the number of recoveries continue to outnumber the amount of daily cases.
But while the numbers are certainly doing down, Malaysians are not out of the woods yet, and we might be lowering our guards too soon.
Take what happened in the last few months of 2020 as an example. The number of active cases took a drastic nosedive back then, but all it took was the Sabah state elections, among other factors, to ignite the third wave of infections that soon spread throughout the country.
The last thing anyone would want at this point is for history to repeat itself, right?
Complacency aside, there is also the slow progress of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme – which is still in its first phase – to contend with.
As of March 17, a total of 367,213 (or 1.15%) of the Malaysian population – estimated to be approximately 32.7 million – have been vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, 5,867,497 have registered to receive the vaccine, i.e. less than 30% of those eligible.
Only 15.8% of people aged 60 years and above and those with comorbidities have signed up.
At the current phase, it is expected that only about six million (or 19% of the Malaysian population) will receive one dose of vaccine by the end of 2021.
Although it is believed that the Government is doing the best that it can at this point, but there is no denying the fact that these figures are still overwhelmingly low.
So until the Government can get at least 80% of the Malaysian population to register for the vaccine, or better still, hit their target of vaccinating up to 70% of the country’s population by year end, perhaps it would be best to leave the blanket MCO alone for now. – March 20, 2021