It has been two months since my daughter returned to Malaysia after her university in Canada decided it would be in the best interest of its students to stay away from campus and study online instead.
Since her return, Amirah has been steadfast in observing the Movement Control Order (MCO) which began on March 18, just a day before she came home.
We were having a chat two nights ago and she told me the self-isolation is finally starting to get to her. It’s not serious and more about extreme boredom. But she is well aware of the importance of staying the course. So should everyone else.
The MCO may have been relaxed two weeks ago, but it is not the time to jubilate but to remain ever-vigilant as the coronavirus threat is far from over.
The Conditional MCO starting May 4 was not Graduation Day for us to go out of our homes, look up at the blue skies and fling our mortarboards (in this case face masks) into the air with gay abandon.
The CMCO was about getting the economy started again, to get people moving again, and to get back on our feet albeit cautiously.
We were ready for that, the Prime Minister said in his address on May 1. But he also cautioned that life would not be the same as it used to be. Changes had to be made. Sacrifices were needed. Discipline, willpower and awareness were of utmost importance in this war against the hidden enemy.
This week will be the most crucial one yet in that war. Tomorrow it will be two weeks since the CMCO came into force. If there’s a spike in Covid-19 cases in coming days, it means we have failed to keep our part of the bargain while going about our daily affairs in a supposedly controlled environment.
I say supposedly because there have been many reports of people taking it easy and throwing caution to the wind – some because of sheer ignorance and quite a number because of sheer stupidity.
For example, when the people were allowed to jog or take walks starting May 4, I saw three familiar faces in the neighbourhood. These three ladies are good friends and for a long time, have been walking together every morning.
I was happy then to see them maintaining a distance (of more than a metre) between each other. But that good feeling dissipated quickly yesterday morning when they walked past my house. There was no more distancing and it was like everything was back to normal.
They probably thought that since none of them had fallen sick, everything was all right. Maybe they are not aware of being asymptomatic. Having known them for a long time, I am sure it is ignorance. Maybe I should talk to these lovely ladies and rub some fear into them.
There’s also been disappointment each time I’ve gone to buy food in the evenings the past few days. On Wednesday, I saw a group of six sitting together at a restaurant and some of them were even puffing away.
I’ve seen people in public places – three or four of them – having chats, fist-bumping, and even doing that long-time-no-see hug. Why, oh why?
Others have also complained of similar sights like the absence of physical distancing while queuing up outside banks, grocery stores or restaurants. That’s only what we see in public. What about those who curi-curi (secretly) meet up with friends and relatives? Some even have parties. They might think they are spreading goodwill but they are also spreading the virus.
Let’s hope all these lackadaisical acts have not caused too much damage. Let’s hope there’s no spike in Covid-19 cases. And most of all, let’s hope people start being more responsible or we might remain in this isolation mode longer than necessary.