In the past few days, Malaysia has set record highs in relation to confirmed daily coronavirus cases. And with that, steady murmurs of another impending lockdown (similar to the one implemented a few months ago) in Malaysia have begun to come to a defining crescendo.
However, experts — ranging public health professionals, economists, and top politicians — are of the opinion that a repeat lockdown will not bode well for the local economy and neither will it be a good solution to overcome the second wave of infections.
Instead, the group of experts believe that a more targeted movement control is the way to go forward.
Experts Say Targeted Movement Control is The Best Way to Deal With The Recent Covid-19 Spike in Malaysia
On October 6th, Malaysia recorded 691 new infections and four deaths — a jump from the previous day’s 432 cases, which was then an already all-time high record of daily infections.
The bulk of the country’s new wave of cases of Covid-19 has been linked to an outbreak in a prison in Kedah, as well as in the recently held state election in Sabah. The two aforementioned states accounted for 616 of the 691 cases reported on Tuesday. It has also been predicted that the number of positive cases will only continue to rise in the coming days.
However, the government (at this time) is not considering implementing another Movement Control Order (MCO) as the livelihood of 15 million Malaysians in the workforce are on the line. Certainly, the first round of lockdown in Malaysia contributed to the country’s loss of over RM2 billion per day during the lockdown and led to countless jobs being lost.
At this point in time, it seems the government has learnt of the devastating impact on the economy that the MCO has on the country. In that sense, if the government does decide to become stricter in regards to handling the coronavirus, it’s going to have to be very targeted and localised.
Public health experts are also echoing this statement.
Indeed, a full-fledged, country-wide MCO may not necessarily slow the spread of new cases as the clusters are currently concentrated in Kedah and Sabah. In this case, the government will likely resort to TEMCO (Targeted Movement Control) to contain the spread of the massively infectious Covid-19 virus.
An all-out effort in contact tracing among the prison staff and their immediate contacts needs to be done immediately in order to curb the infection from spreading outside the prison walls in Kedah.
On the other hand, the high number of cases in Sabah may be tackled by actively detecting and aggressively implementing contact tracing — a strategy that has helped authorities contain a large cluster in Kedah in the early days of the pandemic.