EDITORIAL: Can Many of Us Survive Another Lockdown?

THE cracks are appearing and the seams are bursting for many of us who are running our own businesses. Small, medium or large business no less have been trying their very best to avoid closing shop in the last one year with the Covid-19 pandemic not showing any signs of withdrawing.

For those who survived the Movement Control Order 1 & 2, the possibility of going through MCO 3.0 could surely be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. At the time of writing this editorial, Covid-19 numbers are on the rise and speculation has been rife that another MCO would be enforced by the government to once again attempt to bring the numbers down.

As a community news platform, SJ Echo is not spared from the rippling effects of the pandemic and frequent lockdowns. Our corporate partners who are mainly our advertisers have been adversely affected by the lockdowns and this inevitably also makes it difficult for SJ Echo to continue to brave the storm for too long. We continue to fight on while praying for a respite before things can go back to normal. Being an apolitical platform, we do not get any grants or funding from both sides of the political divide; something we hold dear to our hearts to maintain neutrality and objectiveness.

Can we afford another lockdown as a community? I personally feel we cannot. Having said that, there is an urgent need for the authorities to fully enforce the SOPs and restrictions they had in place.  The ban on inter-state travel for example is ineffective if there are no measures to check travelers plying the highways. It is not good enough to say “you cannot do this and that” without enforcement.

One example I shall cite is the case of an elderly gentlemen who went out one day to run some errands but didn’t come home. The family went into a frenzy and called us for help. Later in the night (at 2am), we received a text informing us that the elderly gentleman had just called and he was found to have driven all the way to Teluk Intan. Why he landed up there is not as important as asking how he got there in the first place. If the interstate travel ban was truly enforced, he would have been stopped probably at the Subang or Damansara toll booth right?

There are many loopholes in the enforcement of the SOPs and I am sure many have spotted them too. Traders with their face masks at their chins while serving food; people crowding into a lift; people crowding at the buffet line etc etc etc. Two of us were in a lift recently and when we got to the next floor, a crowd wanted to come in. I shouted “SOP 4 orang saja” and to my relief, the crowd stopped; and only two entered.

I am going for my second vaccination jab this week. I had no side-effects from the first dose except feeling unusually hungry for the few days after. Getting vaccinated will not mean I do away with the face masks and ignore the SOPs in place. I will follow them by the book as this will ensure I am safe and those around me will also remain safe. Right after my first vaccination, I received messages asking what brand I was given. Some of these people seem to think that getting vaccinated is like a walk in the grocery store; choosing which brand they want. For me, a vaccination is a vaccination; no matter what brand it comes under. It is important for us to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Discard the chatter you have heard about what is good or bad; don’t talk about which brand you want to be vaccinated with. Register yourself first!

If you remain unregistered, you will not get vaccinated. Look at the daily fatality statistics. Are you planning to be a statistic too?

The month of May is going to be challenging. With the possibility of another lockdown looming in the horizon, we will have to brace ourselves for whatever may come right after that.

Here’s wishing our Muslim friends and readers SELAMAT HARI RAYA. Although this year’s celebrations are expected to be toned down because of pandemic, there’s nothing to stop us from celebrating it in a modest and safe way.

Stay Safe Everyone!