Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fear and caution in the time of the pandemic

Which do we exercise, as daily numbers continue to spike?

Other News

Imigresen harus disiasat kerana langgar perintah mahkamah, kata NGO

Human Rights Watch berkata, jabatan imigresen harus sedar mereka tidak boleh bertindak melangkaui undang-undang.

Covid-19 infections in Lagos alone ‘may top Africa’s official total’

The numbers in Africa could be higher than reported because of low testing and poor registration of deaths.

Iraq’s ancient Christian community decimated by violence, fear

The Hammurabi Human Rights Organisation says only 400,000 Christians remain today in a predominantly Muslim country of 40 million people.

Group calls for probe on immigration dept for ‘defying’ court order on refugees

Human Rights Watch says the immigration department 'should recognise that it cannot operate above the law'.

As GPS rides high in Sarawak, no sign of opposition joining forces

Bad blood between PSB and Pakatan Harapan in the state is likely to derail any cooperation, even in the interest of ensuring straight fights with the ruling GPS.

The recovery movement control order, implemented just over four months ago on June 10, saw the gradual restoration of some semblance of normalcy in the everyday lives of Malaysians. Not complete normalcy, of course – by now, most people are familiar with the mantra of “the new normal”, a phrase which, ironically, implies an improvement over the “old normal” of what life used to be before the Covid-19 pandemic knocked the collective wind out of countries around the world.

Slowly, hesitantly, though, Malaysians began resuming their daily routines: groceries were done, children were sent to school, workers returned to their offices, and malls – the destination of choice for the majority on public holidays, weekends and indeed any random pocket of free time – began coming to life again.

In the Klang Valley, this tentative progress lasted 126 days before a new wave of infections sent Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya back under conditional MCO.

But even before Oct 14, malls, offices, schools and roads had been emptying for some time as spikes in daily Covid-19 numbers kept many at home. The government’s announcement of the CMCO merely formalised what, for many, was already a given.

While the lack of rush-hour traffic on the Federal Highway may best symbolise the mindset of many today, the alarm which characterised much of the country in the early days of the lockdown in March appears greatly subsided.

There are few reports, if any, of panic shopping – Malaysians have learnt how to keep a good stock of toilet roll at home – and the memes which met the government’s announcement of the CMCO – “When you can’t go Selangor to meet your friends because of CMCO… but no more Selangor people come queue for KL food” – suggest a certain level of jadedness about lockdowns in general.

And yet, anxiety persists on a quieter level. WhatsApp messages fly from phone to phone, ostensibly carrying the latest updates on “What The Government Doesn’t Want You To Know About Covid-19 In The Country”; news of new positive cases reaches friends and family at a speed which puts online portals to shame; and “Good Morning” messages have been replaced with “Stay Home And Stay Safe!”.

To be sure, there are now more things to worry over. For the past three days, Covid-19 cases have been hovering above 850 – a far cry from the 100-200 plus recorded when the initial MCO was implemented in March. Now, it’s considered a relatively good day if Covid-19 numbers don’t pass 500.

It would come as no surprise if, after a while, the numbers begin to get to us. Instinct for self-preservation aside, we worry about our loved ones, our businesses, our economy and, at times, our sanity. In the Klang Valley, we are not confined to our homes by any external order yet, but the internal fear of the virus which has wreaked havoc on all fronts across the globe is enough to keep anyone firmly at home with sanitiser and soap at the ready.

The hard truth is, until a workable vaccine is found, Covid-19 will continue to impact our lives. For those of us who have loved ones in hospital, or who have already lost them to the virus, the impact will likely continue forever.

But we should not allow ourselves to confuse fear with caution. Good sense is what tells you to avoid crowded places and to wear a mask and wash your hands. Fear is what keeps you an internal prisoner, consumed with anxiety over what could happen even though it hasn’t yet and may not ever.

This pandemic comes as a test to us all, although some of us have been put through more than others. For those who have lost family, friends and livelihoods, it is hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. But for those of us who have been more fortunate, now is not the time to be brought to our knees by our fear of the unknown. The Covid-19 crisis is far from over, but it will do enough damage without us helping it along. Don’t let it take more from us than it already has.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/malaysianow

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Global digital vaccination travel passport ready ‘within weeks’

As the pandemic continues, governments are preparing to only allow vaccinated tourists to enter their countries.

AstraZeneca EU supply chain shortfall continues in second quarter

The British-Swedish company had sparked fury among European leaders by announcing that it would miss its target of supplying the EU with 400 million doses, due to a shortfall at the firm's European plants.

Rising violence mars start of Afghanistan’s Covid-19 vaccination drive

Taliban insurgents fighting the government have announced their backing for the vaccination campaign.

Muhyiddin to receive first Pfizer jab today

Also scheduled to receive the vaccine today are health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and four other staff from the health ministry.

Waiving IP won’t boost vaccine production, says pharma group

Proponents of doing away with IP rights say more companies could produce the vaccine but IFPMA says the problem is logistics, not patents.