Not ready to return to normal

It has been slightly more than a year since the pandemic hit our shores. Things seem to be going back to normal when we see crowds returning to malls, travel now seems possible with the vaccine rollout and even Gardenia bread and toilet papers are easy to buy.

Since April 1, employees in Conditional Movement Control Order areas can return to their offices in full force, thus seeing the end of the rule that allowed only 30 per cent of workers in the office.

It seems like the end of the pandemic is near and I can finally walk in malls, have meals at restaurants and even travel.

But as we start to relax these restrictions in our battle against the coronavirus, not everyone would be ready to resume life as it was pre-Covid-19 days. While I am anxious and excited to be able to get out and about, I still don’t feel comfortable. Not so much because I am not ready, but I don’t think it is really safe out there.

Sarawak currently has more than 30 clusters, and the number of daily cases is between 100 and 200. Most of the clusters here originate from social gatherings such as weddings, funerals, gambling and cock-fighting activities, and even through an altercation where a fight among several men over a woman on Valentine’s Day, led to the Jalan Green Cluster.

Late last year, my family had a close call when my son’s classmate tested positive for Covid-19. While he was completely isolated in his room alone, my youngest son, my parents and I too confined ourselves at home for 14 days.

We went through the uncomfortable swabbing tests twice, and thankfully both the tests came out negative.

Fast forward a few months later, the rollercoaster of emotions remains. Recalling the incident last year, we still have the anxiety that history may repeat itself and this time, we may not be so lucky.

Venturing out of the house still seems like a huge hassle as we have to be masked up, constantly sanitising our hands, and be on our toes to remind ourselves not to touch our faces.

While the vaccine offers hope to at least a somewhat normal life, I somehow don’t see us returning to “real normal” (pre-Covid days).

The younger generation these days would never know what it is like walking in public without a face mask, giving a relative a hug when they greet them or entering a premise without having to register details and taking their temperature.

Even if the vaccine can bring Covid-19 to an end, a new virus could emerge and be just as detrimental.

I know things will never return to normal such as the mask-wearing culture, but I do hope to find some normalcy in life, where we can travel with ease again and have uninterrupted school days and be able to embrace family members and friends like we used to.

When we return to “normal”, what it really means is for us to want to feel comfortable and safe.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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