Considering the number of infection has gone down at the start of July 2020 (now we are seeing single-digit new infections), the Government announced a more relaxed lockdown known as Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).
As at yesterday, Malaysia only has 408 active cases (compared to Singapore with 8,735 active cases) and the number of recoveries continues to beat the number of new infections with an impressive 93.80% recovery rate. Statistics source: Health Ministry
This phase of the lockdown will see more businesses (including the long waited hair saloons and now 4D shops) to open up and interstate travel restrictions relaxed. RMCO will run from 10th June 2020 to 31st August 2020 and will replace the CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order) which had ran from 13th May 2020 to 9th June 2020.
A Summary of RMCO
- Interstate travel will be allowed, except for areas under an enhanced movement control order (EMCO).
- Training activities for sports teams, and non-contact sports such as bowling, badminton, archery and shooting.
- Motorcycle convoys and group bicycle rides.
- Schools will be opened in phases, with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Health (Moh) providing further details.
- Business operations will return as normal, with adherence to the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs).
- Hari Raya Aidiladha and sacrifice rites will be allowed under the SOPs provided by religious authorities. For group prayers and religious activities in mosques and other houses of worship, more people will be allowed into services, with the government to provide guidance on this soon.
- Haircuts and beauty treatments at salons.
- Open markets, morning markets, night markets, bazaars, food courts, hawker centres, food trucks and food stalls will be allowed.
- Commercial activities that involve sales and promotional activities outside of business premises.
- Museum visits, indoor busking, self-service laundry facilities, recreational finishing and film shoots.
- Meetings and workshops can be done so long as they follow health and safety protocols and optimise space.
- Pubs, nightclubs, entertainment centres, reflexology centres, karaoke centres, theme parks, mass religious gatherings, mass social gatherings, open houses and other activities which involve large amounts of people in one place.
- Sports competitions or games that require mass gatherings of supporters in stadiums, swimming pools and public swimming pools are still not allowed, with contact sports such as rugby, wrestling, boxing, football, basketball and hockey not allowed as well.
- Foreign travel
We had MCO, CMCO and now RMCO – this simply shows that lockdown works to contain the number of new infections. Graph source: Outbreak.MY
Despite the relaxation of the lockdown, there are still rules governing businesses and the way we go about our daily lives. At work, mostly all are wearing the facial mask and social distancing is enforced with a good number of the staff working from home. Plenty of hand sanitizer all around the office and near the entrance of the office.
With a “relaxed” lockdown and more businesses has opened up, obviously, there is more traffic on the road now. The traffic is heavier but at least it is moving compared to before the lockdown which was basically a standstill especially just after the toll plaza. Perhaps it is still manageable as the schools are still closed and a good number of people are working from home.
Restaurants and other businesses now have register book or barcode, digital thermometer and hand sanitizer at the entrance but I noticed not all use that or register especially if you are a regular.
And in recent days, the licensed gambling centres have been allowed to open as well and the funny part was, the customers who go into these centres are more disciplined than others – at the time, I noticed everyone queue up with proper 1-metre distance space. They also register at the entrance and allow the staff to take up their temperatures before going in. No one complained or simply walked in.
Out Shopping With Kids?
Since the schools were closed due to the COVID19 pandemic and the lockdown in place, my kids have been confined to home. Only recently they have been allowed out when my wife had to go to buy food and she does not wish to go out alone (the kids will remain in the car) and when we visited our relatives (taking all the necessary precautions).
But they are not allowed out for any other places such as grocery purchase at hypermarkets. It remains me or my wife to handle the shopping and once done, we will come back home and wash our hands first before heading to take a good shower.
One good reason why we can afford to leave the kids alone at home is due to their age. Both of them are old enough to take care of themselves. My youngest can even prepare a cup of Milo without anyone’s help so we know we don’t have to keep them under watch 24 x 7.
Their preferred place in the house also assist to defuse any potential conflict between the siblings – one (the eldest) usually stuck in front of the laptop upstairs whilst the youngest usually stuck in front of the TV downstairs. Plenty of space in between them to ensure each of them has their own private space and since each is stuck with different devices, so no one is fighting on what channel or website to go.
However, it is clear that the same health precautions are not shared by some parents. I lost count of the numerous warnings, advice and clarifications from the Health Ministry and the Home Ministry telling parents not to bring their kids to crowded places to minimise potential infections.
With a long list of grocery items in my hand, it falls on me to do the purchase from the hypermarket near the house. I avoid going to Tesco these lockdown days as the queue to enter the hypermarket is too long and often needs me to go at least 45 minutes early before they open so that I can get a good place in the queue.
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I opt for Aeon instead as the queue is short and I don’t have to go so early. That was my plan on the last weekend until I drove past Tesco and noticed no queue at the front entrance. So I changed my mind and decided to shop at Tesco.
There were plenty of shoppers at Tesco but a mother with 3 kids at the entrance caught my eyes. Before anyone comment that maybe the mother did not have anyone to look after her kids (which I totally understand), let me comment on the kids – the eldest is almost the age of my eldest kid and the 2nd kid is a similar age as my youngest. So in other words, the kids can take care of themselves whilst the mother is doing her shopping.
Parents like her baffle me – why expose your kids to potential dangerous virus infection for sake of convenience? Grocery shopping does not take the whole day to do. And if you are concerned that your kids will not be able to take care of themselves, then start teaching them on how to do so. One day, they need to be on their own anyway.
We need to thank and appreciate all the hard work that our front liners and all Malaysians have done since the start of the pandemic. It does not matter if you are working in the hospital saving lives or manning the roadblocks to ensure no one breaks the lockdown rules or handing out food for those who are unable to work or locked at home due to the lockdown.
We have managed to pull this out rather successfully despite the hardships that some encountered due to the lockdown. And we are able to go back to our previous lifestyle with some changes of course, faster than other more “developed” country.
The war has not ended – the vaccine for COVID-19 is yet to be developed on a large scale and there is always the danger of a spike in new infections if we do not take care of ourselves and if we don’t practice social distancing and if we don’t put in place the recommended SOP to minimise contacts & new infections.