2021-01-11 13:08:00  2408964

Between life and livelihood

Opinion

Sin Chew Daily

The coronavirus spread is picking up steam with daily new infection numbers in four digits for over a month now, even breaching the 3,000-mark a couple of days ago.

This shows that the country's battle against the virus has now come to a very critical stage.

In the face of fast rising daily new infection numbers, it is obvious by now that the government's preventive measures have largely failed and new solutions need to be sought to bring the heinous virus under control.

Rumor is rife that the government plans to reintroduce MCO, but anyway, the prime minister will only announce new COVID-19 measures and SOPs Monday evening.

From the information made available to Sin Chew Daily, the government may tighten virus controls in several states and territories, including bans on cross-state travels and dining in, among other things.

Different people may have different views on whether an MCO should be reintroduced. Many have urged the government to impose MCO in order to break the infection chain in view of the escalating outbreak and increased infection risks.

A survey conducted by Sin Chew Daily on Facebook reveals that 86% of readers are in favor of MCO 2.0 even though this may hurt the vulnerable national economy.

Given the staggering daily infection numbers in recent weeks, more precious lives may be sacrificed if we do not adopt tougher measures to contain the virus. A total of 71 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus during the first nine days of this year. By comparison, fewer than 100 people were killed by the virus in the first nine months of 2020.

Torn between life and livelihood, many have opted the former and stood by a reintroduction of MCO.

In the meantime, others are strongly against MCO for fear the already bruised economy will suffer a further blow.

Understandably MCO will have a strong negative impact on the country's economy. When the MCO was first introduced last March, no doubt we managed to sort of contain the spread of the virus, but this was achieved at the expanse of the economy. Many local businesses were plunged into deep dilemma, struggling very hard for survival.

The first MCO has wreaked tremendous havoc to the economy and a second one may very likely send the remaining businesses winding up for good, and this is not just about business owners and operators but will trigger a series of chain effects to spike the unemployment rate and hold down economic development.

Whether we support or oppose to MCO 2.0, it is advisable that we look at things in more macroscopic and comprehensive perspectives. While it is utterly important to bring the virus under control, we cannot afford to overlook the importance of economy in so doing.

It is imperative that the government will come up with a more balanced approach in the interest of all Malaysians, While drawing up effective measures to battle the virus, it must also take into consideration the impact these may have on all aspects of Malaysians' lives, including the education issue, whether students should be permitted to go back to school. If they are not allowed to go back to school, how are they going to make up for the "lost" year, and how to ensure their safety if they are allowed to go back to school?

These tough questions need to be answered wisely by our government leaders.



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