It is pretty clear to all of us that the Covid-19 outbreak is not like the other epidemics and disasters that we have experienced in our lifetime. Countries have been brought to their knees and livelihoods of people around the world have been severely affected by the virus, as well as by the lockdowns or restricted movements it necessitates.
The situation is so dire that the United Nations (UN) recently issued a call-to-action to all member states to not only curb the spread of the virus, but to also address the socio-economic impact of this crisis.
We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations – one that is killing people, spreading human suffering, and upending peopleâ€™s lives.Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN
Governments and private organisations around the world are doing their part to help
Foreign governments like those in China and Cuba are sending aid in the form of medical supplies and medical workers to countries that are affected by the disease. With the help of the government, local doctors are also having video conferences with those in China to discuss findings and methods of fighting the virus.
In the private sector, companies like Alibaba donated medical equipment to a number of countries. Ralph Lauren and a number of high-end fashion brands have shifted their production resources to churn out personal protection equipment (PPE) for frontliners. On top of that, those with engineering expertise – like Ford – are building ventilators.
Back at home, the Malaysian government announced a stimulus package to help its people. Banks have automatically granted their loan borrowers a six-month moratorium to ease Malaysiansâ€™ financial burden. Local companies like YTL are also giving out free SIM cards with 40GB worth of data to facilitate e-learning; while Lazada launched Cameron Farmers and LazadaForGood to help small medium and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as source donations for the needy and frontliners.
What we can do – aside from staying at home
As urged by our Prime Minister, the greatest help we can offer is to stay at home to break the chain of infection. We can start by doing more of our shopping via e-commerce platforms, prepare our own food, or use food delivery services.
We can help SME producers like the Cameron Highland farmers and neighbourhood market vendors by ordering our fresh groceries from them (check out our full list of fresh groceries delivery services here). You can also support SME food and beverage operators by ordering food from them, or purchase gift cards from them now to be used later.
For those who would like to help the underprivileged and frontliners, the LazadaForGood initiative allows you to either purchase PPE for medical staff, feed underprivileged families, or donate to the Covid-19 Pandemic Fund. This is Lazadaâ€™s collaboration with MERCY Malaysia, UNICEF, and the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.
We have two more weeks to flatten the curve and help our fellow Malaysians – let us do it together because #MalaysiaBoleh.
I have an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, gummy candy, and "Confucius says" jokes.