Kuala Lumpur, 2 May 2020 — In a signature drive which lasted four hours yesterday, 359 individuals and organisations comprising patients, former patients, public health professionals, non-government organisations and concerned citizens signed a statement to express their concern at the Government’s decision to implement a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) on 4 May.
Those participating felt that the move was premature and that there was insufficient time for businesses, offices and the general public to understand, be trained and adequately practice the many SOPs to protect themselves and their families and communities from COVID-19 in the “new normal”. Two days is insufficient time.
The signed statement is as follows:
CMCO: More Preparation Time Needed
We, the undersigned patients, former patients, non-government organisations, public health professionals and individuals express concern of the Government’s recent announcement to introduce a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) on 4 May.
It would have been better if the recent announcement was made for implementation after 12 May as part of life post-MCO.That would have given at least a week for preparation.
Due to the incalculable sacrifices made by the thousands of people delivering Malaysia’s essential services in hospitals, clinics, at roads, roadblocks, markets and offices, the country has made remarkable progress in the COVID-19 public health emergency and achieved results which are the envy of many countries in the region and around the world.
Though more than a hundred people have died, lives have also been saved. Thousands have already recovered from being infected, and have returned home to their families and loved ones. However, this achievement has come at a tremendous price.
Everyone has been hurt by the imposition of the MCO. The impact to the economy has been severe. People have lost jobs, livelihoods of families and communities have been jeopardised. Poor mental health and a lack of physical activity have increased conflict, depression and caused suffering. We definitely need to gradually relax the restrictions and ensure that we are able to go back to life, to work and to rebuild. However, we are concerned that these achievements could be lost if there is not enough investment in time ensuring that people are sufficiently prepared to protect themselves, families, places of work and communities.
There is a real risk of successive waves of COVID-19 infection as a result of non-compliance and misunderstanding of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) due to the lack of preparation time. This could result in Malaysia moving from this MCO to another one potentially in a couple of months. We cannot afford that.
There seems to be an overdependence on and expectation that SOPs will solve problems without first investing in ensuring that communities, businesses and the public are briefed and trained on them. There must be sufficient time for businesses and people to prepare to ensure proper compliance and adherence. Successful adherence requires proper understanding and preparation. Two days is not enough time.
Employers and employees of offices, retail and food shop outlets and other places of work are not likely to be adequately briefed and trained on the specifics of disease prevention according to their work location.
Everyone should be proactive in making serious preparations to reopen businesses and workplaces. The Ministry of Health, other government agencies and healthcare professionals should be able to offer guidance and enforcement, but we must take personal responsibility to make our homes, offices and businesses COVID-19 safe.
Lack of preparation will result in unsuccessful implementation of the SOPs, increased risks, frustration, conflict, publictension, and most importantly, increased infection and spread of the disease. We hope that the government will consider these concerns and ensure that our sacrifices for the past four months will not be in vain.
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This statement is signed by 359 individuals and organisations.
The full list of signatures can be found here.