MCO only buys time, does not solve Covid-19 problem, says Dr Kelvin

Police and the army manning a roadblock during the MCO. – The Star photo.

By Emma Victoria

THE MOVEMENT control order (MCO) is effective to break the chain of infection, but it comes at a huge cost and  basically only buys time, and does not solve the problem.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the first MCO imposed in the country in March last year was meant for our government to prepare for the worst-case scenario and prepare a long-term strategy to address this pandemic.

“However, even after a year of Covid-19, we do not seem to have a sustainable, predictable, specific, and long-term strategy to deal with the pandemic. Many gaps and issues from the first and second wave were not addressed which has put us back in the current predicament,” he said in a statement.

“It is vital that we spend this “borrowed time” wisely especially in improving every aspect of our health system. We cannot repeatedly use MCO to bail us out over and over again,” he stressed.

He said the Perikatan Nasional government has not only failed in managing the current surge of Covid-19 cases in our country, but more importantly they also failed to learn from their own mistakes and gaps in handling the pandemic especially during the first wave and also during the first implementation of the MCO.

He also said the government has not learnt from their lack of clarity and urgency in communications especially to build confidence and promote better compliance among the public.

Dr Yii said the government must now look at five main areas, including increasing screening and isolation capabilities including transparent data sharing and clear SOPs.

They should also be transparent on their plans how to boost their testing capacity, contact tracing abilities and isolation capabilities, and also reveal their parameters to measure the success of their approach.

He said daily numbers should not be the main barometer to determine the success of the approach, but rather our testing rate, contact tracing speed and proper isolation capabilities.

Secondly, the government must develop a long-term strategy that strengthens multiple aspects of our health system including forming a National Covid-19 Consultative Taskforce consisting of experts from the public and private sector and state governments to advice Putrajaya and to coordinate localised approaches in each state.

The government must also provide mental health counselling for those affected due to isolation including emotional support and adequate financial assistance including automatic extension of the loan moratorium to provide some relief for those badly affected by the MCO.

Lastly, they must address the digital education gap between the rich and poor and urban and rural divide, promptly.

Yii urged that the government spend this time wisely and not remain out of touch and caught up in the political drama for their own self-interest and power.