Effectiveness of MCO raises questioned


KUCHING: Although the state has been put under the movement control order (MCO) a number of times since the pandemic hit the country in March last year, the worrying number of Covid-19 cases has made the public wonder about its effectiveness.

Logically, the MCO should have decreased the number of cases, but that has not really happened. In fact, new cases, clusters, and new locations being put under enhanced movement control order (EMCO) have become regular happenings.

No wonder members of the public have a lot to say when asked about the matter.

Leandro Mcrae

Leandro Mcrae, a 25-year-old administration executive, believes that although Covid-19 is a deadly disease its spread can be controlled when people simply adhere to the public health standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

“However, it seems that this seemed to work quite well only during the first and second wave of the pandemic when the number of cases did decrease, but the situation has not improved much until now.

“I say the public should alter their social behavior by strictly following the SOPs so that our health system won’t get overburdened or overstretched,” he said.

He reckoned that individually or as a group, people have the power to save precious lives including their dear ones by taking preventive measures.

“Wear a mask, maintain social or physical distancing, wash hands with soap frequently and avoid crowded places.

“The public needs to remember that we are a strong state and can defeat Covid-19 but for that to be achieved, cooperation from everyone is imperative.

“If we continue to practise all SOPs, I am sure that we will be able to beat the pandemic eventually,” he said.

Claudia Gura Foster

Another respondent, 25-year-old clerk, Claudia Gura Foster, wondered why the number of positive cases remains high despite the MCO.

“Yes, they have been testing more a more people, so they will find more cases, but I still believe that really complying with the SOPs could help bring the number down.

“Self-discipline and strict compliance with all SOPs are very crucial to break the chain of infection in the community,” she said.

She recalled that people were more resolute and adhered to all the SOPs during the first MCO in March last year.

“During that time, the cases in the state were not high like now and we managed to flatten the infection curve easily.

“We flattened it before, so we can certainly do again when the stakes are so much higher. I hope that people realise this and start adhering to the SOPs strictly so that we can return to normalcy,” she said.

Jenny Huan

However, Jenny Huan, 25, begged to differ somewhat. She thinks that total lockdown should have been enforced wherever appropriate. Sometimes some people need to be forced to behave well so that they don’t endanger others. Perhaps the lack of such lockdowns is why the number of cases has not decreased.

“The MCOs have caused people and businesses (including small and medium-sized enterprises) to have a hard time to survive,” she said.

The human resource worker suggested that the state government implement a total lockdown for a short period of time rather than a long National Recovery Plan (NRP) with phases.

“This would help decrease the number of cases in the state. Furthermore, the government should also totally ban social events or public gatherings such as funerals, festive gatherings. Just don’t allow them, not even with certain conditions or special SOPs.

“This is because many clusters have formed following these kinds of events,” she said.

She also urged the public to comply with the SOPs at all times and educate others around them about the importance of SOPs.

“In fact, people should encourage each other to get themselves vaccinated as the government has done a lot to try to defeat the pandemic,” said Huan.

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