The recent announcement of lockdown in Klang was chaotic and confusing. It started with confusion on the location of lockdown, i.e. the whole or part of Klang District.
More confusion occurred with regards to types of activities allowed or disallowed, for example, Port Klang services, various businesses, schools, sports and etc. This confusion was unnecessary and preventable.
To begin with, lockdown is effective to control SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19 from human-to-human transmission. It can be as effective as a vaccine and useful, especially when a vaccine remains elusive to date.
This is because humans are the only host for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and when human-to-human transmission is halted, the outbreak can be controlled and the epidemic may end spontaneously.
Every lockdown has 3 parameters which need to be specified, i.e:
1) the duration of lockdown
2) the location to be lockdown and
3) the intensity or level of the lockdown measures.
These parameters are decided based on the extent and distribution of the outbreak. Most of the confusion was regarding activities allowed/ disallowed during the lockdown period.
I urge the National Security Council (MKN) and the Ministry of Health to set specific guidelines on four levels of lockdown, instead of the current existing vague terminology of EMCO, CMCO and RMCO.
My suggestions are :
Level 4 MCO: most severe form of lockdown like on 18/3/2020, when all non-essential services, public or private, were disallowed. Human movement is restricted.
Level 3 MCO: allow low-risk activities (for example, government departments; offices; most businesses, except entertainment outlets and dine-in restaurants) to resume with ‘new normal’ (i.e. physical distancing, wearing of mask, hand sanitation, common area sanitation, temperature screening and registration via MySejahtera application). No gathering of crowds above 10 persons at any one time.
Level 2 MCO: allow most activities, including dine-in restaurants, schools and educational institutions, to resume with ‘new normal’. No gatherings of more than 100 persons.
Level 1 MCO: allow all activities, including entertainment outlets, to resume with ‘new normal’. No restrictions on crowds, so long as physical distancing can be maintained.
When a lockdown is imposed for a specific duration, in a specific location, MKN just has to announce the level of lockdown (Level 1-4 MCO), which automatically defines the types of activities allowed or disallowed.
This will provide clarity. This classification will avoid confusions amongst the public, as well as the enforcement agencies. This will also prevent contradicting statements from different ministers.
Dr Lee Boon Chye is Gopeng Member of Parliament and the spokesperson for health at Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.