Frankly Speaking: Curbing Covid-19

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 16, 2020 - March 22, 2020.
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As the public healthcare system tackles what the World Health Organization has now described as a pandemic, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and its frontline workers must be commended for their vigilance and care of patients infected by Covid-19.

They must be undergoing tremendous stress in dealing with a highly contagious novel coronavirus that is still not fully understood and for which a vaccine has not been found.

While not as deadly as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Covid-19 is dangerous for the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

From Feb 27, the disease entered its second wave in Malaysia as the number of infections rose, following an 11-day period when no new cases were recorded. As at March 13, the number of infections stood at 197.  Further action may be necessary to halt the spread of the virus.

The issue is not just about how its spread has crippled economies but also whether the healthcare system can cope with the burden of caring for Covid-19 patients and others.

Thus, the government’s decision to postpone or cancel international meetings, sports and religious events up to April 30 is a move in the right direction. In announcing this, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also touched on the need for the Islamic authorities in the various states to issue guidelines on gatherings in mosques based on the MOH’s advice.

Perhaps the school break, which starts this Monday, should be extended. More companies should adopt work-from-home arrangements while building owners ought to monitor the temperature of people entering their premises. Meanwhile, personal hygiene and social distancing are the order of the day for individuals.

Common sense should prevail.

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