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Lock Down in Malaysia 2020: Day 31 – It is All About Sustaining the Momentum

lock down

Lock down success in China – seeing the numbers involved is really impressive: Wuhan lockdown – 14 million people involved, Hubei lockdown – 59 million people involved, other cities lock down – 159 million people involved. Information & image source: Zoomax

Many thanks to the strict lock down in place (now in 3rd phase yet almost 15,000 lock down violators caught todate), the number of testing done and people doing less stupid things, the number of active cases has indeed continued to reduce. As at todate, Malaysia has a total confirmed infection of 5,182 cases with a total 84 deaths and a total 2,766 recovered cases – the fatality rate stands at 1.62% with a recovery rate of 53.38%.

Related: Prepping in Malaysia 2020: Readying for Flu Pandemic

Comparatively Indonesia has a total confirmed infection of 5,516 cases with a total 498 deaths and a total 548 recovered todate – the fatality rate stands at 9.03% with a recovery rate of 9.93%. Philippines has a total confirmed infection of 5,660 cases with a total 362 deaths and a total 435 recovered todate – the fatality rate stands at 6.40% with a recovery rate of 7.69%.

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Overall, things are under control in Malaysia to a point where even the super efficient Japanese heap praises on Malaysia is managing the lock down and COVID-19 cases.

The fluctuations in daily new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia are actually a sign of success and not failure, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah clarified today.

He said certain spikes in number of new cases were due to active testing in enhanced movement control order (EMCO) zones, and the Health Ministry’s focus on localities and cluster groups.

“The phases one and two of MCO have helped a lot. We are seeing fluctuation in cases past few days because the increase in numbers comes from active tracing in EMCO areas. “So we are still concentrating on all the clusters and locality now. After Sri Petaling cluster, tahfiz school students are our next priority,” he added.


At the top, United States has a total confirmed infection of 678,144 cases with a total 34,641 deaths and a total 57,844 recovered todate – the fatality rate stands at 5.11% with a recovery rate of 8.53%. In fact the top 6 countries with number of confirmed infections as at todate are from the West – United States, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and United Kingdom. Their combined number of confirmed infection is about 1.44 million cases (66% of the global cases) with total 111,827 deaths (76% of the global deaths) and recovery of 282,961 cases (52% of the global recoveries).

Related: Outbreak 2020: Novel Coronavirus Situation As At 28th January 2020

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Back at end of January 2020, there were only 6,057 confirmed cases in the world, majority of it reported in China. Malaysia had 7 confirmed cases. Today worldwide, there are about 2.2 million confirmed cases. Image source: Our World In Data

Coronavirus pandemic started in the East and spread from China to the surrounding countries (badly hitting South Korea, Japan and ASEAN countries) before it started to create havoc in the West. So why then the Western countries ended up having more coronavirus cases than the rest of the world?

Lack of time to prepare excuse is definitely out of the question as they had plenty of time to see pandemic causing deaths in China and how China and many other countries started to enforce strict lock downs. So was it due to the Western culture of laid back in face of crisis or was it just a sign sheer stupidity?

There an interesting analysis done by CNN on this very obvious question.

“By comparison, officials in Europe and the US knew exactly what they were facing once the outbreak reached their borders, but were often slow to react, wasting time as the virus spread through Asia and ignoring lessons learned by other countries”

When the virus infections started spreading in China, many was grappling with questions unanswered – how the virus infect other humans, what is the incubation period, where it came from, etc. This included the conspiracy that the virus is man-manufactured in a secret lab somewhere in China and it has been accidentally or purposely released into the public and that the Government of China knew about it from Day 1.

In Malaysia, there was even some confusion with Influenza A infection (H1N1) that was reported in several schools in Malaysia. The Chinese Health authorities however still getting new findings on almost daily basis and this knowledge was shared with WHO and rest of the world.

Related: Outbreak Alert 2020: H1N1 on the Prowl Again

“There’s often a feeling in countries that they might be affected in a different way because their community has a different structure … or that hot weather is going to keep it away, or their community is more spread out” Cowling said. “But I think what we’re discovering is that Covid-19 is affecting everywhere in the world.”

sunlight virus

Yes, if you remember that includes the call to have more Rasam at home, use neem leaves with turmeric water to wash hands & legs before coming into the house, standing under the sunlight to “kill” the virus, etc. Image source: Voice of America

“In the US, nationwide social distancing guidelines were not put in place until March 16 — the country’s first case was recorded on January 15, and the first signs of “community spread” detected in late February. The UK too dragged its feet on taking concerted action, only instituting lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in late March, two months after its first case was recorded.”

Related: Outbreak 2020: Also Use Vanakkam Instead of Hand Shake

Eventhough in Malaysia, the first phase of MCO or lock down was enforced nationwide on 18th March 2020, the call for social distancing, avoiding crowded places, taking precautions like wearing a mask & washing hands has been done much earlier in Malaysia. Thermal scanners were put at all international entry points and all health officers were put on high alert to detect any potential carriers especially from China.

There were even arrests over fake news was done as early as January 2020 to ensure that the public do not get swayed by incorrect information and to avoid any general panic. There were some incidents of panic buying but it was not widespread and in most areas, people remained calm and groceries supply was more than enough (it was funny to see foreigners getting a shock of their life to see toilet papers remained untouched in supermarkets).

And to ensure we don’t have a clown taking charge of the situation (unlike in some countries), Malaysia went professional and put the Director General of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (he is also the Senior Consultant Surgeon in Breast, Endocrine and General Surgery) as the man who will make all the final decision. Recently China Global TV Network named Dr Hisham as one of the three leading doctors in the fight to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus and there is no big surprise there – the facts & figures speak for themselves.

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There is no such thing as a political decision getting into the way of how the country manages this major pandemic. Of course, we had sideshows from some politicians from drinking warm water will kill coronavirus, wear make-up at home and speak in Doraemon’s voice, wearing Minister tag on some cheap PR stunt street sanitation exercise, Minister wants to investigate the sewers for virus, etc. Image source: SAYS

“That complacency, combined with calls to preserve the economy at all costs, appears to have caused some officials to refuse to see what was staring them in the face, or being shouted in their ears by increasingly desperate scientific advisers.”

Related: Outbreak 2020: Another Surge of Virus Infection from Tabligh Gathering

In other words, just plain ignorance of public health for something is not essential such as business or even religion.

The problem is these people do not wish to listen to the experts or thinking that there are dubious reasons behind the health warning of a pandemic. Take this case of a pastor who had defied warnings about the danger of religious gatherings during the pandemic and vowed to keep preaching – a week later he was dead from coronavirus. In other countries like Pakistan, the ignorance of the nature of the pandemic is even more glaring. Religious leaders are openly ignoring government guidelines on social distancing and mosques are full to the capacity.

Trump is not the only President who downplayed the impact of coronavirus and brush it aside as something that will pass over time.

Back in March, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro shorten his self quarantine to meet his supporters, shaking hands and taking photos with them in the capital – ignoring warnings from health authorities about large gatherings and recommendations on social distancing. He called the coronavirus threat a “fantasy”. Brazil has a total confirmed infection of 30,891 confirmed cases with a total 1,952 deaths and a total 14,026 recovered todate.

Another is Rand Paul – the senator from Kentucky who while waiting for his coronavirus test results, went to the Senate, went out for group lunches, talked with reporters, and worked out in the Senate’s gym. He was tested positive in the end but the worse part is he may have infected many other people despite being aware of the outcome of the virus.

Sweden is one of the country in Europe who did not impose strict lock down or banned large gatherings. The Government instead is relying on personal responsibility to take care themselves. This is despite the petition which has called for the Swedish government to implement stronger measures has been signed by over 2,000 doctors, professors, and scientists. Sweden has a total confirmed infection of 13,216 confirmed cases with a total 1,400 deaths and a total 550 recovered todate

Malaysia in this case is indeed far ahead in the race to contain and recover from a major pandemic. However until an effective vaccine is found, all Malaysians tested for coronavirus and all potential carriers have been identified and quarantined, social distancing and perhaps some form of lock down will be part and parcel of our daily life. This coupled with highest standard of personal hygiene and constant sanitation – we will be able keep the numbers low.

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