Despite a lockdown in place, you have to admit that it is quite impossible to just remain at home and rely on online purchases, especially for groceries. Sooner or later, one has to brace oneself to go out shopping and that is what I had to do yesterday morning.
The problem was I completely forgotten the start date of Ramadan so I was surprised to see a very long line at Tesco hypermarket even though I was there quite early. Every time I go out, I have to reset my 14 days incubation period all over again.
Another 2 Weeks Extension
Thus far, Malaysia method of containing the COVID-19 virus via MCO (movement control order) has been very effective compared to lockdowns in other countries. Image source: NST
The Government on 23rd April have just announced the extension of the lockdown which is due to end on 28th April 2020 by another 2 weeks to 12th May 2020. That is the bad news as this means the businesses remain closed, a lot of people unable to go to work, roadblocks remain in place and everyone needs to be on high alert to avoid any infections.
On the other hand, the situation in Malaysia has continued to improve with daily recovery cases to be more than new infection cases since last week. The number of active cases has continued to reduce since 5th April 2020 at 2,596 active cases to 1,966 active cases as at today.
The fatality rate stands at 1.70% whilst the recovery rate improved to 63.22%. I believe the Government targets to achieve a single digit of new infection cases before they can safely call off the lockdown.
Indonesia has 7,775 cases with 647 deaths making a fatality rate of 8.32% with 12.35% recovery rate whilst Singapore has 11,178 cases with 12 deaths making a fatality rate of 0.11% with 8.02% recovery rate. Interestingly Singapore’s recovery rate is lower than Pakistan’s recovery rate of 21.62%.
The End of Our Pre-Pandemic Lifestyle
One thing for sure – the lifestyle as we know it will no longer exist in view of COVID-19 infections. Image source: Amazon
Even without MCO, we need to continue to take the necessary precautions like wearing a facial mask when going out, often use hand sanitizer, wash our hands with soap and maintain social distancing in crowded places.
Looking from an American perspective, Business Insider listed these 10 ways the coronavirus pandemic could change out American lifestyle as we know it (further details in the article):-
1. Since so many governments were caught unprepared, we could see stronger government action and an international pandemic initiative to handle future outbreaks.
2. There could be a shift in geopolitics and a possible rise in nationalism.
3. Inequality could keep increasing, more work could be remote permanently, businesses might not hire as many people as they had before the pandemic, and that could lead to a universal basic income.
4. Disruptions in education could lead to long-term consequences. Or we may see the development of new, creative solutions for remote learning.
5. Medicare for all might be established in the US.
6. Movie theaters could significantly decline, and virtual entertainment could take their place.
7. We could finally see drone delivery systems come online.
8. A shift in consumer behavior to buying things online could accelerate the retail apocalypse and reshape the way Americans shop.
9. A halt in green-energy initiatives could persist, and energy consumption could shift primarily toward internet usage.
10. The way we socialize and interact with people in public could change dramatically.
Perhaps once an effective vaccine has been developed, we may just be able to go back to the lifestyle before the start of this pandemic. Malaysia is working closely with other countries namely China and South Korea to conduct clinical trials once the vaccine is ready. However this will take time developed and test to be safe for humans and until then, the health risk from infection remains high.
Time to Revisit Rohingya Issue
According to UNHCR, as at February 2020, there are about 100,000 Rohingyas in Malaysia. Whilst Malaysia has granted some safe haven for these Rohingyas in the past, it is indeed becoming a major headache for the country.
Whilst we are still wondering on what to do with these Rohingyas who are already in the country, there have been efforts from other Rohingyas trying to enter Malaysia illegally. Thankfully the Malaysia authorities namely the Royal Malaysian Navy have been on their toes to ensure that these illegal immigrants do not succeed in entering the country.
Recently the navy managed to intercept a boat with 200 Rohingyas and turned them back from Malaysia (it was reported elsewhere that the same boat tried to enter three times but failed before heading back to Bangladesh):-
Malaysia has denied entry to a boat carrying about 200 Rohingya due to coronavirus fears, the air force said, after news emerged this week that scores died on another crowded vessel.
In the latest incident, the Rohingya boat was spotted Thursday by a Malaysian air force jet off the northwestern island of Langkawi and then intercepted by two navy vessels backed by a helicopter.
Malaysian sailors gave the Rohingya food before escorting them out of the country’s waters, the air force said.
According to this military news blog, presently there are about 13 Navy & Coast Guard ships and 5 aircraft on patrol to look out for these illegal immigrants. At the same time, the blog also highlighted how strained the Malaysian security forces are in deploying it’s naval assets in ensuring the country’s rights & securing Malaysian’s waters from intrusion.
In addition to patrolling Malaysian water to intercept illegal immigrants, we also have to deal with Indonesian pirates, Vietnamese fishing boats, Chinese military intrusions in the South China Sea and the terrorists from South Philippines.
But considering the lockdown in Malaysia, this has started to put pressure on the Rohingyas already in Malaysia. They have even started to demand Malaysian Government to provide financial aid and to allow other Rohingyas who have been trying to enter Malaysia illegally to openly enter the country and be allowed to do business and work legally.
Good thing Malaysia is standing firm on this matter especially the lawless Rohingyas around the Selayang wet market. There are just too many examples of these Rohingyas being rude, dirty and more demanding than the locals.