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PM’s Public Health Advisor Explains Why Govt Is Easing The MCO On 4th May

PM’s Public Health Advisor Explains Why Govt Is Easing The MCO On 4th May

Tasneem Nazari

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The Prime Minister’s special advisor on Public Health, Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood says that she understands that many feel the government is easing the movement control order (MCO) too early, as there are still new positive cases being reported on a daily basis.

However, she explains that Malaysia is ready. This is based on a report written by a group of Chinese experts who visited the country, as well as based on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) criteria.

She outlines the full details of the current state of Covid-19 outbreak in the country through an open letter to the people. 

Below are my standard responses so you may want to share with your family and friends.

Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood via Malay Mail

Below are the pointers from Dr Jemilah’s open letter:

1. MCOs are not to end Covid-19 but flatten the curve.  And we have. We have flattened the curve to ensure health systems are protected and able to cope.

2. Our health systems can cope. We have more than enough ventilators. Utilisation capacity is now only at 30 per cent, with the Health Ministry starting to give frontliners leave.  Most cases — above 80 per cent — are mild. 

3. Covid-19 will not end for the next two years. There will be small spikes but we must not panic.

4. When there is a spike in an area, an enhance movement control order very localised to the area can be implemented immediately. 

5. Enforcement will be important to ensure compliance. Both from the government but also self-enforcement — individual, community, companies.

6. The pandemic can be ended only when the whole of society participates and is empowered. If you see something, say something.

7.  Economic impact and mental health are important. We have to face the bitter challenges of MCO and Covid-19 but only if we pull together in the same direction can we win this.

8. The new normal is a reality.  Stay home as much as you can. Keep a safe distance and wear a mask.  

9. We need to live with Covid-19. Just as we need to live with dengue. 

10. A vaccine at earliest may be available next year. Herd immunity is questionable as data on antibodies is still showing a low conversion rate. So travel is limited.

11. Don’t compare Malaysia with Hokkaido. When it opened up, it didn’t protect its borders. Malaysia is protecting her borders. This is critical and one of the requisites of WHO.  We have taken steps beyond what was done in Japan as we have learnt from their experience.

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