Socialise but don’t let guard down over Covid-19, says senior doctor

A senior medical practitioner has advised Malaysians to “socialise, but take precautions” as the fight against Covid-19 is far from over.

Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan said people should continue wearing face masks and wash their hands regularly.

“We are letting our guard down completely. Just look at functions organised these days …. people are not wearing masks. The same goes with meetings,” said Dr Tharmaseelan.

“When it comes to public gatherings, we have to be a bit more careful. The number of cases may increase, but we will have to learn to live with it. We cannot be living in isolation.

“It’s best to take your own precautions,” he added.

Malaysia recorded 1,682 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 5,005,239.

This figure could rise as more people travel during the upcoming school holidays, and more gatherings are held towards the end of the year.

Dr Tharmaseelan acknowledged that not many people were testing themselves these days, or even updating their status on the government mobile application, MySejahtera. As such, the actual figure could be more than what has been reported.

He added that the battle against Covid-19 boils down to the people.

“It’s a personal responsibility. The government shouldn’t be carrying the stick anymore.

“Covid is here to stay … for a long, long time. There’s no such thing as eradicating it completely.

“The best thing to do is to take precautions. No one is saying don’t party or socialise, but do it responsibly.”

Dr Tharmaseelan also said there was no harm for people to take their second booster shot as an “additional armour”.

The government had ordered the updated Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that would be made available to Malaysians soon.

“But it shouldn’t be made mandatory. Those who are concerned about their health and are able to take the second booster shot should do so. It’s about protecting them and those around them.

“But the testing should continue.”

When told that the prices of certain brands of test kits had gone up from RM2.50 to more than RM3 per kit, Dr Tharmaseelan said that the government should be testing people for free, instead.

“The health of the nation is at stake. It should be given out for free at health clinics and hospitals in Malaysia.

“Sometimes, those in the higher risk category are not able to get themselves tested because they just cannot afford it.”

He also urged the government to continue reminding people to take precautions.

“We don’t hear the broadcasts like we used to. I think it should start again, to remind people of their responsibilities.

“The onus is on us, the people, to adjust our lives accordingly,” he added.

Main image by Information Department of Malaysia.