Decide whether it is necessary first
Published on: Sunday, February 21, 2021
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Credit: productcoalition.com
THE government recently announced the extension of the movement control order (MCO) for some states and restrictions will be relaxed in other states. The Covid-19 vaccination rollout is set to begin by the end of the month.

As the rules change, in some places enhanced, in others maintained or relaxed, there are arguments over whether the government’s measures to fight the pandemic are appropriate.

Some believe the government needs to relax the rules to keep businesses afloat while others blame its seemingly half-hearted efforts in implementing movement restrictions for the spike in Covid19 cases. 

They cited, among others, the government’s decision to lift interstate travel last December for the surge in cases.

They also point to various ministers or senior politicians who flout standard operating procedures, saying that when leaders cannot follow the SOPs, how could they expect ordinary people to comply?

Both sides have valid points. But to me, two wrongs don’t make a right. It doesn’t matter whether the government allows dining in at restaurants or stipulates how many people can sit at a table. The pertinent question is, at a time when Covid-19 is still a threat, is it necessary to eat out?

When the government allowed dining in after lifting the first MCO, I saw many not following the SOP, which required diners to maintain physical distancing and to leave as soon as possible. 

Whether in mamak outlets or air-conditioned restaurants, diners took their own sweet time eating their food and many lingered long after they had finished their meals. Some brought their children and even elderly relatives along despite these people being in the high-risk group.

Couldn’t they just have their meals at home?

In malls, I have seen shoppers with toddlers tagging along, oblivious to the invisible enemy lurking in the air. I once confronted a mother who was strolling in the mall with her daughter. 

I asked her why she had brought her child, who was in a stroller, to the mall and if she was not worried about the virus. She gave me a dirty look and hurriedly walked away after saying it was none of my business. And they were not even wearing their masks correctly!

Many of us like to blame the government for its shortcomings in handling Covid-19. While I wouldn’t say the government is blameless, we ourselves should do our part in keeping the virus at bay.

When the government lifts the ban on interstate travel, we should ask whether we should be travelling in the first place. Is it an urgent trip that cannot wait? Will the journey put our loved ones or others at risk?

When we are allowed to dine in at restaurants, should we linger? Should we even dine in when we could just take away the food? Should we discuss business over the restaurant dining table when we could just Zoom?

Very often, people who complain about the government’s decisions are the same ones whose actions elevate the transmission risk of Covid-19. I wonder how many have criticised ministers for flouting Covid-19 SOPs on social media from a mamak shop long after they had finished their meal? Do they remember to wash their hands frequently?

All I can say to those who keep blaming others is: “Stop and start taking responsibility!”


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