The resurgence

A person in public without a mask during a pandemic is a walking septic tank.

– Abhijit Naskar, international bestselling author

It is time to show tough love. The time for friendly warnings should be over.

I am referring to the effective enforcement of our long-established lifesaving SOPs about keeping the Covid-19 virus at bay.

It was one year ago, January 25, 2020 that the first Covid-19 infections were detected in Malaysia.

We are also fast approaching the first anniversary of MCO 1.0 declared on March 18, 2020.

Despite all the hard work over the past year, look at the situation we are in now — record figures of infections. We are in a worse situation now compared to the first wave.

There is no need to go into the details of the statistics of Covid-19 positive infections in Sarawak. It is there for all to see daily.

Some people wait with bated breath for the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee daily reports and briefings.

I am sure, WhatsApp, Telegram and now Signal experience a huge surge in online traffic just after 5pm every evening, flooding chat groups with the latest figures related to the Covid-19 infections.

I stopped looking at the Malayan statistics some time ago and the chaos over there. 

Overall, I am sure we all would agree that the Sarawak Management Disaster Committee has done a great job under very challenging situations.

Since the initial MCO, CMCO and RMCO ‘the curve was flattened’ and Sarawak became ‘Green’ with intermittent imported infections.

Regrettably, this ‘Green’ status is now history with more districts becoming Red Zones.

During the RMCO and ‘Green’ phase, there were many words of advice and warnings from various quarters not to get complacent.

It was what many feared would happen. The resurgence of the Covid-19 virus that initially began after the Sabah state election had moved on to Malaya.

In Sarawak, we praised ourselves for being better than the other parts of Malaysia.

Then it did happen here, just when the virus seemed to be under control, it reared its ugly head and is beginning to spread like wildfire in some areas.

We are now amid a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is coming back with a vengeance. At the time of writing this a record 255 infections were reported in one day, an all-time high.

Many are praying hard that in Sarawak we do not go down the same path as in Malaya and Sabah or even worse, what happened in Italy last year.

Am I being an alarmist? Maybe, but I would not be the only one.

I would sincerely like to avoid the blame game. But some people and parties could have played a more serious and considerate role to minimise the spread.

To be clear, I do know that no one deliberately sets out to get infected or infect others.

In fact, the majority do follow the Kita Jaga Kita approach.

Others take a more carefree approach. All it takes is for a few people to trigger the spread or create a new cluster.

We also need stronger enforcement of SOPs. The time for pussyfooting around and trying to be popular is over.

It is time to make sure we don’t keep overloading the healthcare services and the staff as well.

These are not normal times. All parties, people, businesses and politicians need to do their part to save lives.

I for one would like to see the issuance of more fines to make sure there is strict adherence to the SOPs. There must be no weak link in the system.

Our Chief Minister and his team have already done their part when he announced yet another care package for the people.

But for how long can aid packages be dished out. Financial resources are finite.

We have already endured a terrifying 2020. At this rate only a total lockdown and with even more drastic measures under MCO 2.0 might have to be declared if we want to stop the local-to-local transmissions.

If we are to break out of a perpetual and vicious cycle of MCO, CMCO and RMCO, let us all buck up and play a responsible role.

A relaxed attitude will not only destroy lives but also our economy and with that any hope of an autonomous Sarawak.

Take your pick — a strong, healthy and prosperous Sarawak or a weak, dependant and emasculated Sarawak.

I repeat what our Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said last year: “Let us go through this for Sarawak”.

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