JULY 7 – A few days ago it was suggested that maybe it was time not to test asymptomatic people.
It is very disturbing that instead of increasing our tests, it seems that we are thinking about reducing them. While Singapore disseminates test kits and makes them both accessible and affordable, our tests cost 4 to 5 times the daily salary for some people.
If you think about it, the fastest and quickest way to reduce the number of our cases is to not test people.
No testing, no case, no problem, right?
Hiding our infectivity rates and the actual number of infections is like hiding dust under the carpet and calling a clean room.
There is great pressure from the business community as well as from neighborhoods that think Covid-19 is “just the flu” to reopen the economy as soon as possible.
This pressure is felt by the Ministry of Health and by some ministers – but it is horrible, to think that one has to choose between life and livelihood.
Tourism is dead, let it die
Disastrous attempts to continue supporting the tourism industry, with tour buses, special trips to Genting Highlands, and prioritizing hotel and casino workers for vaccinations have only increased the clusters.
We have to accept that tourism as it was practiced before cannot be sustained in today’s climate – it has to evolve.
Hotels cannot be sufficient for national numbers alone; a tragic reality that we must accept as long as we fail to make indoor spaces safer.
Instead of unemployed hospitality and tourism workers just hoping for a past that will never come back, the industry needs to think about retraining workers and helping them find ways to transfer their skills to others. professions if necessary.
Some countries have started offering virtual tours, as KLCC Aquaria is already doing. Unfortunately, the earnings from these efforts won’t be as high as those from physical tours, but times like this call for more creative solutions and offerings.
“And if people die, we will die if we cannot feed ourselves!” This argument is limiting and erroneous; there is no “acceptable loss of human life” in this pandemic.
The government must and must help this struggling industry, but the industry must also stop reverting to the previous status quo and start formulating new ways of sustaining itself that don’t involve letting people die.
Fake news must be fought on all levels
I find it ridiculous that we can block Mr Nasir from the radio for asking “Who is Mahathir” but we cannot seem to stop influential people from spreading false information.
There should be the same rules on those in power that are imposed on ordinary citizens – not on a medical professional? Not qualified to give health advice? Maybe don’t make public statements or give health advice.
Take for example the ridiculous amount spent on spraying disinfectant in public spaces despite the lack of scientific evidence to do so.
Our knowledge has evolved sufficiently to learn that Covid-19 is diffused by aerosol and not by contact on physical surfaces.
Why isn’t there more information shared on this? Why are preachers and celebrities allowed instead to share folk remedies or sell questionable remedies?
It’s not even just about Covid – we see religious figures making disturbing comments about suicide and mental health that are not helpful but harmful.
This is not about silencing freedom of expression, but damaging opinions should not have the same freedom of dissemination and should be classified as disinformation.
Stop stalking activists
I wonder why law enforcement officials prey on filmmakers and artists when our so-called Ministry of Information is doing a pitiful job of drowning the quagmire of fake news.
Even now, we have so much misinformation and hesitation about vaccines that citizens have had to save themselves the AstraZeneca rollout.
Honestly, Malaysians on social media deserve credit for using a hashtag that made a vaccine that got so much bad press a topic to fight for.
On the other hand, the ministries are not even able to get the message across that in this pandemic, the first vaccine available to you is the best vaccine.
Meanwhile, in Australia, where AstraZeneca is made, there are political wrangling and fear, with the painting taking the blow as a terrible act of harming the people.
Pfizer’s shots will likely not arrive in this country until October, but instead of settling for what they have, anti-AstraZeneca hysteria has even reached all-time highs.
As awkward as our vaccine rollout is and as mismanaged as our Covid strategy is, at least so far, reluctance to vaccinate is not a major issue – yet.
Rethinking our communications
Perhaps it is time for the various ministries concerned to come together to formulate a more unified strategy for disseminating information on Covid-19 and vaccination.
Right now it’s a mess and those who are not qualified to speak speak before those with qualifications in public health and epidemiology.
As much good as many rakyat do by encouraging each other to get vaccinated, it shouldn’t be their job and it is time for ministries to step up instead of arresting people for cartoons.
Don’t you want thin-skinned politicians to be made fun of? Maybe stop being such a mockery.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.