KUALA LUMPUR – Yesterday (June 25) marked exactly 100 days after the Movement Control Order (MCO), whose implementation was announced by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, came into force on March 18.
So, it raised the question of how Malaysia has fared in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MCO restricted the people’s movements and saw the closure of businesses and offices except for essential services, in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
After going through four phases of the MCO, including the Conditional MCO (CMCO) from May 4 to June 9 and the ongoing Recovery MCO (RMCO), Malaysia’s position has improved to 69th out of 187 countries in terms of the total number of positive cases, from 17th just one day after the MCO was enforced.
Today, Malaysia recorded further positive developments with just four new cases to bring the cumulative figure to 8,600 while there were no deaths for 11th consecutive day, keeping the death toll at 121, or 1.41 per cent of the total number of cases. The total number of recovered cases stood at 8,271 or 96.2 per cent while active cases were just 208.
The lowest number of daily new cases was recorded on June 10 with just two, and it could be another sign that Malaysia is on the right track in flattening the COVID-19 curve and in striving towards zero infection to be free of the coronavirus.
Without doubt, health and medical personnel have been working tirelessly in the frontline the past five months, since the first positive COVID-19 cases were reported on Jan 25, involving three Chinese nationals who entered the country through Johor from Singapore.
Just like the public, health personnel too have had to grapple with challenges, and many nurses and doctors have described the ordeal of having to be dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) for long hours and to keep a distance from their loved ones to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to them.
So far 416 personnel of the Ministry of Health have tested positive for COVID-19, with 80 per cent of them getting infected outside of healthcare facilities and 20 per cent picking up the virus from patients and colleagues.
And for months too police personnel, aided by soldiers, were out on the streets manning roadblocks and conducting patrols to ensure people complied with the restrictions which were imposed to contain the spread of the disease.
In fact, Koperal Safwan Muhammad Ismail, 31, sacrificed his life in the line of duty when he was mowed down by a motorist while manning a roadblock in Semenyih on the Kajang-Seremban Highway (LEKAS) on May 3.
Other enforcement agencies like the Malaysian Civil Defence Force, Malaysian Volunteers Corps (RELA), local authorities, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Immigration Department too have contributed in no small measure in this battle against COVID-19.
Other positives that emerged in the midst of the health crisis included the arrest of illegal immigrants during operations, the lower incidence of crime because of increased police presence and the tighter controls at the country’s borders to prevent illegal entry by foreigners.
To keep up the momentum, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah have been constantly reminding the people of the need to abide by the standard operating procedure (SOP) and to adapt to the new normal if this war against an invisible enemy is to be won.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin on June 5 also made it a point to express his appreciation to all frontliners and to thank the people of Malaysia for abiding by the SOP when going about their daily activities during the MCO and CMCO.
So, where do Malaysia and its people go from here? Certainly, all parties need to maintain their vigilance despite the easing of restrictions under the RMCO.
They need to maintain self-discipline and to be constantly reminded that it is a battle involving everyone. Come on, Malaysia! Together we can defeat COVID-19.