Sin Chew Daily
The numbers of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in the country have moderated in recent weeks, kept in double-digits for many days with May 12 reporting only 16 new cases, the lowest single-day increase since the start of the MCO.
Things have looked pretty rosy. But when the society felt relieved the outbreak was tailing, we saw a dramatic rebound in new positive cases on May 25, with as many as 172 cases reported.
Although the number was not as bad as in previous peaks, the spike occuring as everyone was anticipating a cooling off did pour cold water on many, and this highlights the fact there is still probability for the coronavirus outbreak to rebound anytime.
Among the 172 newly reported cases, five were imported while 167 locally transmitted, with foreigners making up the bulk of the new cases at 159.
And among these 159 foreigners testing positive for COVID-19, 112 were from three immigration detention depots.
The authorities have urged Malaysians not to be overly worried by the spike in new cases because majority of them were happening within immigration depots far from public access and that the situation was well under control.
Having said that, given the fact the country has several millions of legal as well as illegal foreign workers, it is understandable that members of the public will feel worried the situation could go out of hand once the virus spreads in the midst of foreign workers. We may very well follow the footsteps of Singapore if we fail to contain the outbreak within the migrant community.
The authorities earlier came under harsh criticism for mass arrest operations to round up illegal foreign workers and refugees. Some are of the opinion that the move could make detention centers a hotbed of virus.
Following the surge in coronavirus cases at detention depots, it is imperative that the government seriously look into the conditions at these centers to prevent the situation from worsening
The sudden rebound in new positive cases underscores the unpredictability of the viral outbreak and that the government and Malaysians alike must not take things too lightly.
In view of the relaxation of MCO restrictions in recent weeks, the public are inclined to let their guard down thinking that the situation has largely come under control. Many have even ignored the MCO and flouted social distancing rules.
For instance, although the government has announced that activities and rituals at religious venues are banned, a Hindu temple in Seri Kembangan went ahead with a wedding ceremony that saw the participation of almost a hundred people.
As if that is not enough, thousands of Malaysians attempted to make the banned interstate travels during the recent festive season. This shows that people are beginning to drop their guard.
We need to reiterate here that the war against the virus is yet to be won, and the government must continue to adopt effective preventive measures including ways to deal with the issue of infections among migrant workers.
Meanwhile, members of the public must continue to cooperate with the government to prevent a powerful rebound of the coronavirus that will render all our previous efforts in vain.