IT is that time again where we are at a crossroads in our quest to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. I sound like a broken record — I realise it, but the fact and my stand remains the same.
We are at war with a notorious little virus that has more than once threatened to finish off the existence of humanity in many countries. Leaving out the testing capabilities and numbers for a while — we are fortunate that we have controlled the pandemic in Malaysia — for the moment.
Why do I say that? Well, we have come to a time where there is again another festive celebration in Malaysia. It is a make or break time at a crucial grey-period in Malaysia for the Covid-19 pandemic. Look at the erratic numbers daily — we are dancing a very fine line here.
The control of the pandemic has largely depended on Malaysians after the MCO was lifted — however, time and again, we see many Malaysians ignoring the SOPs, not using the SELangkah or MySejahtera app to check-in for their visits, nor do they write down telephone numbers accurately. These are all irresponsible behaviour which must be curbed.
I strongly urge Malaysians, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters who will be celebrating Raya Haji soon, to please adhere to the SOPs — remember that we need to avoid confined and crowded areas. I know we will have another day before the compulsory masking comes into effect, but please wear a mask at all times when in public areas or when receiving guests.
Do not forget social distancing is the key along with hand-washing, hand-sanitising, and disinfection of materials are all key things that can be done with masking to ensure that we do not see new clusters after Raya. Remember, no matter how much we would like to embrace our family and guests — be wary of our salams and hugging — let it wait please!
A few days ago, our former health minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had rightly put it — we are not out of the pandemic yet and relaxing will only make things worse. Think of it as a war — relaxing for a bit will always give a chance for the enemy to regroup and gain more ammunition for attack.
We wouldn’t want that now would we? Opt to stay indoors, follow more stringent SOPs, and have a happy Raya everyone. Remember, we sacrifice all celebrations for a year, we get to live our lifetime happier without the virus.
As we also approach our national day, remember our dream is to also be a nation independent and free from this virus as well. In conjunction with that, allow me to welcome the National Month with a pantun:
Bulan Merdeka Bulan yang Mulia,
Mendengar laungan Tunku membawa air mata,
Nasihat sudah diberi berpada-pada,
Sila pakai masker atau anda akan di denda
Salam Hari Raya Haji,
Salam Bulan Merdeka,
Salam Sihat, dan
Bersalamlah Ikut SOP (hand over heart).
Dr Arvinder-Singh HS is a medical officer with a Certificate in Occupational Health, Master’s in Health Research, and Diploma in Football Medicine. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Community Health focusing on adolescent athletes’ health.