I know that there’s a god because I was able to survive everything that I’ve been through – all of the tough times – and I’m still at the top of my game.– Floyd Mayweather, American professional boxer
I shared recently pictures of food I bought for breakfast from a food court in my neighbourhood.
A good friend who lived not that far away said I was lucky. She said her family could not buy food for breakfast, lunch or dinner because all the food court and stalls in her neighbourhood were closed.
“My nephew craved for kolo mee and we called the food delivery service. We had to pay RM4.50 for a packet of kolo mee and they said we must order at least five packets, otherwise they would not send.”
During the movement control order (MCO), set initially for March 18 to March 31 but now extended for a fortnight till April 14, I still pay RM3.50 for my packet of kolo mee at my neighbourhood food court.
Paying RM4.50 for a packet of kolo when it is home delivered to you is not expensive, considering the trouble involved in sending it to you.
During the MCO, dine-in is banned and customers can only order takeaways. This has pushed up the demand for food deliveries all over the country. With Malaysians staying home under the MCO, many food businesses have grabbed the opportunity to offer home delivery.
The MCO also bars people from leaving their homes unless important such as to buy groceries or seek medical attention to contain the spread of Covid-19.
As a sub-editor, I still work and go to the office during the MCO but my colleagues and I have a special permit to move around after 7pm from the State Disaster Management Committee Secretariat.
On my way to the office in the afternoon, I often come across people delivering food on their motorcycles for famous brands like Foodpanda, GrabFood and Lyfe. Sometimes I see a few of them gathering outside a food restaurant; perhaps they are waiting for the food to be ready before setting out on the road again.
New Sarawak Tribune general office has been closed since March 18 and I guess it will remain closed until April 14. But the nerve centre of the newspaper — the editorial office — is still operating.
Life continues as usual for editors, subeditors and desk top publishing (DTP) artists. Since March 18, the reporters and photographers have been working from home.
In my long career as a journalist, this is the first time I have worked in these unusual circumstances.
Like doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, journalists (these include reporters, editors, subeditors, etc) face the risks of contracting the coronavirus.
Before the government directive to practise social distancing and wear masks, the reporters covered all the big important functions, shook hands with many people and did not wear masks.
What is frightening about Covid-19 according to most recent research is that its patients can spread the virus even when they are not showing any symptoms.
In my office, because of space constraints, we all sit quite close to each other. I sit less than three feet away from my nearest neighbours because of the way the desks are set up and joined. Reporters, subeditors and DTP artists are all accommodated in one room.
Social distancing has been recommended to slow the coronavirus outbreak and flatten the curve.
Ever since the MCO and stress on social distancing, one of our bosses has been reminding us to wash our hands regularly and to wear masks. The office also gives us masks.
Despite the MCO, the number of Covid-19 patients in Malaysia is still rising.
It is reported that 95 per cent of Malaysians are complying with the MCO. But five per cent are not despite countless reminders.
These five per cent do not comply with the social distancing directives at markets and supermarkets and they still venture out on the roads even though they have no urgent reasons to do so.
Because of this five per cent, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has revealed that the standard operating procedure (SOP) for MCO would be tightened to ensure full compliance.
The new SOP, which was being drawn by the National Security Council, would be applied during the second phase of the MCO.
He hinted a new and stricter SOP would include restrictions in terms of movement for the purchase of essentials, food, shopping, etc.
The federal government decided to extend the MCO for another two weeks until April 14 because new Covid-19 positive cases had spiked.
When announcing the extension of the MCO, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said it was important to stop Covid-19 infections and the strategy could be a success if the people were not exposed to the virus through daily interactions.
Will the MCO be extended again after April 14? Most likely if new Covid-19 positive cases continue to spike.
However, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is optimistic Sarawak can reduce the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to zero in the next few weeks.
He pointed out that since the implementation of the MCO on March 18, until March 26, the trend of Covid-19 transmission (positive cases) in the state had stabilised.
Abang Johari appealed to all Sarawakians to abide by the MCO and stay at home.
He added that Sarawak had benefited from being separated from Malaya by South China Sea; this geographical factor had played a big part in stopping the chain of Covid-19 infections.
Until next week, stay safe, my friends.