By Sarawakian

The first quarter of 2021 has just passed. Has anything improved? The pubs, night clubs and bars have still remained closed. It has passed one year already. An alcohol laden place must be a high risk. One wonders as to why we even buy and use alcohol based sanitizers. Maybe one has higher alcohol content.

At this juncture on 1st May 2021, we see a consistently high number of daily new cases of over 2,000 from the mid of April this year. As read from news portals, the capacity for PCR testing has reached near maximum. The number of beds for Covid-19 patients had also been heading towards near capacity.

It has been a tedious journey for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. They began the vaccinations on 3rd March 2021 and have since managed to cover just over the targeted 500,000 of Malaysia’s eligible population under Phase 1 (which ended on 30th April 2021). The current figures are of those having both doses. This would have also included some in Phase Two. The second phase had begun from April and expected to complete by August 2021.

Phase 3, which would be the last phase, would take place from the month of May 2021 until February 2022 next year. Do note that there is an overlap for Phase 1, 2 and 3. The Government is now working on having enough Vaccination Administration Centres (VACs) and hence why we hear of stadiums, community halls, events or convention centres being used for this purpose. This is to aid the limited space in medical facilities.

The surge of Covid-19 cases this time puts a damper on anyone’s spirits. We just came out of MCO2.0 on 5th March 2021 and in just over a month plus, we saw cases spiking up. The education sector seemed to be badly hit with schools having to act quickly. An announcement was recently made by the Ministry Of Education for all schools to re-start their home based learning and teaching method after the Hari Raya Holidays. This would come back-to-back with the next school term holiday beginning 23rd May 2021 till 7th June for most. Some states would be from 22nd May till 6th June. Physical attendance would be reviewed before the expiry of the holidays.

Perhaps the Ministry is being safe but still, we need better improvements with regards to this online method. The infrastructure and guidance remain weak. The internet connection still remains dear and slow. It has been over a year but Malaysia still lags in the active pursuit of improving this. Β I am sure we do not want to hear about people climbing up trees, rooftops or even hills to get better internet reception. Already, having affordable 4G connectivity seems hard even in urban homes. The divide between the privileged and those lesser is going to widen this quest for fair education. Teachers and educationists should also be encouraged and aided in quickly adapting to this.

This new normal is already a normal today. What was practised in the past cannot be expected to be something which we can even think would happen and recur again. Adapting must be the key focus. As we know today, the CMCO has been extended in Selangor and KL until 17th May 2021. Cases in Selangor and KL still contribute to over 50% of Malaysia’s daily numbers.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is at the corner and many are seen flocking shopping centres though in numbers much lesser than pre-Covid-19. The buka puasa scene has changed dramatically as hotels are still no longer the place to go. Eateries in shopping centres would try their level best to comply with the required SOPs or risk being fined or summoned by the authorities. The Ramadhan Bazaar looked less busy than before yet people try their best. Some were required to be closed for a set time due to the lax in controls.

Whilst a good majority try to adhere to the SOPs, the 3Cs and 3Ws, there are some who blatantly ignore the 3Cs and 3Ws. They would insist on cramping elevators for example. I guess some people regardless of education level have a gap in responsible civic mindedness. Some would even challenge you to show that it is law to insist on doing a temperature check and show the scan proof made on the mySejahtera app. Some are just plain combative and argumentative.

As it currently stands, Inter-State travel is still restricted. Inter-District travel is still allowed at this time of writing. This would again be the 2nd time people are not allowed to travel out of state during this festive time. This year, the Chinese New Year Celebrations were also under the same treatment. Tourism within each state has not yet improved considerably, probably due to the fear of Covid-19 and / or the lack of good tourism awareness. I am sure even in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur there are noteworthy places one could drive to. All you need is better awareness and the urge to discover.

The month of May would be an interesting month. It would be a month to see how the Government handles the issue of the AstraZeneca Vaccines which were dropped from the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. Do not forget that this vaccine was to constitute close to 20% of the total doses within the programme released. You may choose to refer to this link;

It would also be interesting to see how the dedicated vaccination centres work and how would this AstraZeneca vaccines be administered to those interested instead. A registration process is in place for those interested. The vaccines arrived on 23rd April 2021. This was an initiative not to waste the vaccine though no longer under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Program at this time of writing.

On the political front, nothing has changed. All we can say is that voters are fed up with them. Would a General Election come this year? We certainly hope so. Better to risk this now than forever be stuck in a flux of things. The common folk seem to bear the brunt of nonsensical actions. Let us put the clowns of politics back in the cage. Do stay safe and really #kitajagakita!