IN the battle against Covid-19, Malaysia has done well not to find ourselves in the same predicament as Italy or the United States, with their soaring number of new cases daily.
Unlike those countries, Malaysia was fairly quick to impose a movement control order (MCO), beginning on March 18.
We have been strict in enforcing it, too, with cops and soldiers on the streets risking their health to make sure we stay safe and at home.
Thanks to these efforts, we have managed to rein in the number of infected cases in the past few days.
But this war is far from over.
Covid-19 infection rates are expressed by the mathematical term R0, referring to the average number of people who catch a disease from one contagious person.
Malaysia’s R0 has dropped from 3.55 before the MCO to 1, according to Health Ministry statistics.
However, we need to bring the R0 down to 0.9, according to the ministry. This is why the MCO, originally slated to end on April 14, has been extended to April 28.
It is crucial that every single one of us makes the effort to stay at home in the next two weeks to further suppress the infection rate of this coronavirus.
We have to stay safe by washing our hands frequently and by practising social distancing if we are forced to leave home for any valid reason (think before you go out that door – can what you need be delivered?).
We cannot overturn all the hard work put in by every one of us in the last 25 days. We especially can’t let the risky work done by frontliners in testing and contact tracing be in vain.
Ultimately, all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion and ideology, have to continue to help the Health Ministry and the country in going forward.
We must achieve our goal. Failure to do so might see another extension of the MCO – and that would definitely hurt the efforts to nurse the country’s economy back to good health sooner.
Lost time would see more businesses face closure and more livelihoods threatened, making it even harder for us to get back on our feet.
An MCO that doesn’t get 100% compliance would also waste the government and frontliners’ efforts to fight Covid-19 thus far.
There are no two ways about it. To win the war against Covid-19, we must stay safe and stay at home.