Covid-19 chaos in controls and containment

There is a saying that if you want to catch a deadly cobra, don’t send a snake charmer, send a mongoose. This got me thinking of this Covid-19 death wish christened a “plannedemic” by western media because, allegedly, someone in Wuhan, China, released this laboratory-made microbe with the intention of stopping the economic motor of the world in order to start afresh with necessary resets and renewals of the world economic system.

I am no conspiracy theorist, but a plain realist. Why Malaysia is not able to control the spread of this deadly virus can be easily charted, customised, categorised and catalogued when a responsible and response-able citizenry gets down to plan a serious wave of attacks against the spread of this nightmare.

A speeding bullet can be missed with nanosecond lightning-fast reflexes, maybe, but not this invisible enemy combatant. You don’t know who has it, who can transmit it, and who can be readily affected and infected due to poor immune system, and who walks around as an uninfected unaffected carrier who is capable of transmitting his deadly load.

This virus is like a hungry ghost looking for readily available victims with poor immunity systems. The virus needs to be starved of hosts and victims at all costs. The only simple and effective way is to not to add to unnecessary gatherings of people. The more you stay home, the less is the incidence groups and gatherings of people — the real culprit that excites the virus.

This virus obviously is unable to infect another virus because that is not how these invisible devils operate. They need humans. They want and need large numbers of humans gathered together to work their deadly maniacal menace. People, like the government, fail to realise this.

It may be trite to say that prevention is the mother of all cures, but that is the truth in all its manifest seriousness and totality. We must as a nation prevent this virus from having its day. We must starve it out of total existence.

Therefore, the effectiveness of lockdowns, controlled and restricted movements cannot be underestimated or doubted within the contours of reason and purpose, bearing in mind that commerce cannot be stopped or interrupted except curtailed for certain hours in a 24-hour day.

The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) is, for all intents and purposes, a strikingly strongly-worded piece of legislation although it does not mention armed forces personnel in particular who ought to be deployed to help the police, customs and immigration officers who are otherwise required to be on active patrol.

“Active patrol” is the mongoose that is required to catch and control this deadly cobra with a different name. Sadly, Act 342 is not being adhered to or complied with by the people, particularly, and the government, collectively. Both are responsible and accountable for this irresponsible conduct.

I see roadblocks with a handful of police personnel, some Rela officials, and once in a blue moon, I have seen armed forces personnel clad in combat uniforms. Roadblocks hardly experience a large crowd or devil-may-care gatherings like that seen in weekly pasar malam, weddings, festive gatherings and religious activities.

Our dedicated armed forces personnel must be combat ready to patrol potential gatherings of irresponsible semi-conscious persons who think they are immune from viral attack. We don’t have any geographical border invasions by an alien attack force which will justify patrolling our northern, eastern and southern borders, so why are the armed forces personnel not being actively deployed during this national emergency?

Armed forces personnel have a sworn and solemn duty to combat this alien invasion with strict and sustained patrolling as the only weapon of choice. They must arrest people who disobey at the drop of a mask. Have Black Marias standing by to whisk them away into custody. Put the fright into violators all day long. Curfews may work?

Active patrol must ensure controlled entry into shopping malls, restaurants to buy food, places of worship, entertainment centers, groceries, playgrounds, libraries, government offices and agencies, bus terminals, railway stations, LRT stations, horse racing tracks, taxi stands and airports. A gathering of less than 15 screened persons allowed staggered entry in regular intervals should be the new normal.

The conundrum is commerce. How much should commercial activity be controlled? After all, we have to eat everyday. There is no escape from this requirement. The government must ensure that food supply is uninterrupted and subsidised for the poor and needy. In this category is a large group of people who can be discouraged from leaving their homes. Surely, the armed forces and police have enough vehicles and personnel to make deliveries of necessities to those deprived of needful and necessary sustenance.

Our problem today is a total lack of police and armed forces patrol timetables, schedules and routines on three eight-hour shifts. It gets from bad to worse as rising number of infections are reported every hour. There is simply no effective method currently employed to prevent unnecessary gatherings. But we have several thousand police and armed forces personnel who work maybe one eight-hour shift. The virus is on active patrol 24/7.

It is exasperating that the government does not consider “prevention and control” as an effective method of combatting and destroying this deadly virus. In theory, Act 342 is effective, but in practice it is a sleeping nodding giant.

Government ministers irrespective of the portfolios held must up the ante with 24-hour patrols by the police and the armed forces personnel. This is a deadly alien invasion that requires a hands-on approach to prevent unnecessary gatherings of people at any hour day and night.

If state and federal elections can be temporarily halted, I see no reason or justification for people to be able to move and be readily mobile unimpeded by police and armed forces patrols.

This is a civil emergency that may require harsh laws as this virus can mutate when it wants to.

During the CT insurrection days, I vividly remember armed forces vehicles with loudspeakers warning people to stay indoors unless they have valid reasons to leave their homes. I hardly see that happening these days.

Normal does not cut it or cure it. As Ed Young, the science journalist quipped: “Normal led to this.” We have played havoc with Nature by accelerated urbanisation, intensive animal farming and widespread deforestation.

It is time we patrolled our habits and attitudes, behavior and conduct.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.