Monday, September 26

Spike in Covid-19 cases: Consider short duration MCO, says lecturer

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Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow

KUCHING (Feb 18): The government should seriously consider enforcing short period of Movement Control Order (MCO) for two or three weeks or maximum period of one month in order to bring down and control the number of Covid-19 and its Omicron variant infection cases in the country.

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) Faculty of Syariah and Law associate professor Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow shared this view, saying short period MCO is suitable to be implemented in order to effectively control and curb the spread of such virus.

“The instructions and rules given through MCO are stricter and easy to be enforced by the enforcement agencies. Stern action can also be taken against anyone who breaks any instructions and rules given through the MCO.

“The government can consider to temporarily close down any sectors which have been badly affected with such virus like the educational sectors and certain economic and working sectors,” he said, adding MCO is not something new in the country as it has been enforced when the pandemic started nearly two years ago.

He based this on the statistics on Wednesday which recorded a new high of 27,831 Covid-19cases which seemed to be the highest number of infections since the pandemic started in the country nearly two years ago.

“We cannot treat this sudden spike lightly and do nothing about it except hoping or praying for it to go down one day in the future. The call by the government for the people to take their Covid-19 (initial doses) and booster vaccine must be taken seriously by everyone in the country.

“Stern and drastic actions must be taken against anyone regardless of their background and status who violated the given orders, instructions, guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) under any existing laws in the country.

“Relevant enforcement authorities must also strictly monitor the country’s international border both on land or sea to stop the risk of infection of Covid-19 and any new variants from illegal migrants,” he said.

Muzaffar Syah cautioned that the government cannot put their entire hope over the call to follow the SOPs by the people.

“If people really follow SOPs, the number of infections will not go on spiking like what we are facing today. The fact that majority of the country’s population have taken the Covid-19 vaccine and who have been infected with such virus with only mild symptoms should not be an excuse to allow the number of infection cases to continue to go up.

“Though the idea of having MCO might be painful to some, we still need to consider to implement MCO at least for short period of time in order to control and bring down the number of infection cases in the country,” he added.

Meanwhile, he also said due to current spike of Covid-19 reported cases, employers in all working sectors in the country must play their role as well to prevent the spread of such virus and protect their own employees from the risk of Covid-19 and its variant infection.

“Work related activities like simple discussion, meetings, seminar and courses should be carried out through online basis instead of physical or face to face interaction in office in order to prevent the risk of Covid-19 infection.

“Full implementation of Flexible Working Arrangement (FWA) and Work From Home (WFH) policy should also be carried out in order to further reduce the risk of infection.

“As for educational sectors, the government can go back temporarily to online teaching and learning process for students and in schools and universities. This would further reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection among our pupils, thus enable us to curb the spread of the virus effectively in the country,” he said.