COVID 19 UpdateEditorial
The rumour mills are in full steam as speculations are abundant as to whether the Movement Control Order (MCO) will be extended beyond 14 April. One thing is crystal clear – it will not be life as usual.
Public health measures and restrictions will continue to apply. Social distancing rules will continue. This means large gatherings, especially religious activities, should continue to be forbidden. Crowd control at markets or any retail businesses should be strictly enforced. Even restaurants must limit diners and takeaways be encouraged.
Travels will likely still be limited as the world grapples with this pandemic. Borders should continue to be sealed as neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Philippines, have yet to see their peaks and likely be future CoVID19 hotbeds. Visitors or returning citizens must be tightly screened, tested and quarantined. Border patrols must be strengthened as imported infections will be the continuing worry. A better refugee policy and SOP will also need to be drawn as refugee numbers may escalate.
There is still much we don’t know about this virus. From its mode of spread, where debates continue as to whether this virus is airborne. CDC and WHO has differing opinions as reflected by their respective policy on face masks. Countries with greater success so far in containing this virus tend to have stricter face mask policies. The fear of advocating wider use of face mask is the forecasted panic buying which can exacerbate the shortage of these masks to frontline healthcare staff. However as life struggles to return to normal, a face mask policy may be a step that will help disrupt the transmission process.
The longer MCO drags on, the more detrimental effect it will have on the economy. Already the Minister of Finance has alluded to a bigger budget deficit this year. Many fear that the economic impact may be far greater than the human toll from CoVID19. So the pressure will be immense in reopening the economy. The MOH must soon present irrefutable evidence of grave danger in doing just that.
A move towards digitalisation and promoting innovation can help spur the economy. Reinventing workflows and reimagining business practises will be pivotal. CoVID19 will be the anomaly that expedites change and nudges humankind forward.
CoVID19 will likely stay within the community until a vaccine is available. This is not expected until 2021. Our prediction is an extension of the MCO as the government digs deeper into its pockets. Because either way, it’s going to be a heavy toll and we would like to think that human lives matter more.