Are we close to the lifting of the Movement Control Order that has 32 million Malaysians kept in their homes for the past 5 weeks? That is the question in everyone’s mind every 5 pm when the Deputy General from the Health Ministry gives his overview of the Covid 19 situation.
Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, listed 6 criteria or conditions the country will need to ensure before the MCO can be eased or lifted completely. However so he informed that lifting will be gradual and more like a soft landing instead of wide opening of the gates. The good DG who has been the calming figure amidst this uncertainty, listed them in his daily briefing to the reporters.
- Protecting the Borders: All entries and exits in the country will need to be secured and protected from any movements. Tight control of the airports, land borders, and ports is imperative to stem imported case from penetrating and infecting the community.
- Movements: Human to human contact should be restricted, which is why the MCO was implemented. Reduction on possible crowd gatherings will have to be reduced or prevented.
- Healthcare System: The existing healthcare system is capable in managing the current patient volume but any spike can overwhelm the caregivers. An intact, robust healthcare together with the labs that can conduct high volume of tests will be ideal to support and look after its citizens.
- Looking after the high risk group: The coronavirus attacks the respiratory system of people who are weak and sickly. Unfortunately, the elders and those who are nursing diseases like diabetes,cancer, high blood pressure are susceptible to the virus. They need to be secured and protected, SOP’s must be devised for these groups.
- New Norms: Citizen will have to adhere to the new norms. Life is no longer how its used to, people will need to realise this and continue practicing guidelines set out by WHO. Social distancing, washing hands and face mask is required at all times.
- Community Support: Finally the most important criteria will come from the community. People will have to identify areas affected and inform the Ministry who can then act in containing the spread in those places. All parties will have to work together, the MOH, authorities, the community and various ministries for the MCO to be lifted.
Discussions are being conducted between the decision makers and they are still evaluating all the criterias. The DG is hoping to see the number of cases to drop to single digit if any consideration can be made on easing the MCO. The week for the first we recorded low double digits with 36 cases being the lowest, are we reaching the finishing line, no one can be sure as the numbers can be unpredictable, giving a false of security.
We need to trust the experts on this, in this case we have the good doctor prescribing doses of calmness, and security everyday at 5pm.