Last Wednesday, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the country will be placed in total lock down for the next 21 days as his government takes step to halt the spread of coronavirus. It did not take long for the Indian police and the military to enforce this lock down order. Image source: NPR.
Not many questions asked, offenders are given the whack of a wooden stick or metal rod. In Malaysia, we may come to this as well if some Malaysians still don’t adhere to stay at home order.
On the same day, Malaysian Prime Minister also announced the extension of the lockdown in the country by another 14 days. What suppose to be a 14 days lockdown till 31st March 2020 has now been extended by another 14 days to 14th April 2020. This is very unfortunate but considering the situation, it was a bullet that the country had to bite. We cannot afford to have a breakdown like how it happening in Italy & Spain right now.
From what I noticed, there seems to be 2 main reasons for the extension – One: lockdown todate was not effective with too many morons not staying at home and still going out of home. This is causing a very high risk of cross infections and Second: with more tabligh participants reporting for testing, further enforcements, speeding up the testing processes and rounding up of illegal immigrants, the number of confirmed infections had continued to increase. This shows that there are many out there carrying the virus and potential to infect others.
As at todate, Malaysia recorded 235 new infections making a total of 2,031 cases and unfortunately 23 deaths.
Around the world, infection cases is also surging in a number of countries – USA recording the highest increase in a day with 9,165 cases with 250 deaths to a total 1,054 deaths. Spain was next with 8,587 new cases in a single day with 700 deaths to a total 4,145 deaths. Italy still fared the worst with 5,209 new cases in a single day with 683 deaths to a total 7,503 deaths.
At home due to the lock down, working from home routine continued although it was clear that I need to look for another place than my dining area to set my workplace. I opt for the dining table due to distance of the internet router and table large enough to put my laptop & documents. But sitting at the dining area, on a wooden chair for 8 – 9 hours daily have started to take the toll – body aches and neck strains. And overall it was getting tiring too. And now the lock down extended, it means another 14 days of working from this uncomfortable place.
To kill the extra being at home and also to break the boredom, I am helping more in the kitchen mainly with the washing of plates and my kids helping with the cleaning of the house & some simple cooking tasks.
Yesterday I had to make my trip to Tesco again but this time, things were stricter compared to the 2nd day of the lock down – all shoppers were checked for temperature at the entrance and more counters were opened to reduce the queue.Tesco Malaysia even came out with quick guides for husbands who are forced to do shopping now. Image source: Tesco Malaysia
But considering the number of infections todate, it is getting riskier to even venture out of home to buy groceries and essential items. I guess we need to be more creative protecting ourselves next time around and ensure a proper scrub down after coming back home.
On the horizon, things were not looking good for the country. There was more bad news which will make the lock down to be more challenging. These included the following:-
Dumping of vegetables due to lack of transportation
Restrictions on traffic and market operating hours under the movement control order (MCO) have adversely affected the supply chain for vegetables and raw food.
Due to the various problems and regulations imposed by authorities, many vegetable sellers and vegetable delivery truck drivers said they would rather stop their service to avoid problems.
Potential closure of petrol stations due to lack of customers (true, I last pumped fuel a week ago and I can stretch the existing fuel for another 1 week or more) and the crash of the world oil price.
The country’s main association for petrol dealers says it fears the bulk of some 3,800 stations nationwide will have to suspend operations due to financial issues related to the “double whammy” of consecutive drops in fuel prices and the loss of traffic due to the government’s movement control order (MCO).
Congestions at Malaysian ports due to problem with transportation to clear the storage
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said several ports nationwide have reached almost 100% of their capacity to hold goods and these needed to be moved out immediately.
He said Port Klang, Penang Port and Johor Port in Pasir Gudang would reach their maximum capacity within a week, leading to a shortage of space.
Further there were already places in Malaysia that has been designated as red zones and an enhanced form of lock down has been put in place.
Residents of two areas in the Kluang district in Johor, will not be able to leave their homes for two weeks when the government implements an enhanced movement control (MCO) order. With this order, local residents and visitors are not allowed to leave or enter the areas for the duration.
The enhanced order involves 3,570 locals from 650 families and will take effect from March 27 to April 9. During this period, visitors will also not be allowed into both areas while all business activities will be stopped.
Ismail Sabri said that basic foodstuff for the 14-day duration will be supplied to residents by the Social Welfare Department.
Expect further places to be placed under enhanced movement control order if the number of infections continues to increase in the next few days. 235 in a single day is a new record and the infection curve remains to climb. We have yet to see any stabilisation of number of cases reported.
In the meantime, the heavy toll continues to be applied on the over stretched, over worked medical front liners. It was reported that few wards in Teluk Intan Hospital in Perak have been closed after 37 of its staff tested positive for COVID-19. And there was further news of 47 medical workers tested positive for Covid-19 after going to same weddings as tabligh attendees.
Stay at home – listen to the instructions and keep safe everyone!!
To be continued…