Being Socially Responsible Is Crucial Towards Endemicity — Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming

Being socially responsible is crucial for our country to move towards an endemic status.

On April 27, 2022, the health minister made an announcements about the relaxation of all standard operating procedures (SOPs), except the indoor mask mandate. 

The response from the public were two-sided, with one side being happy to finally be free of most of the restrictions, while the other side was sceptical about the relaxation. 

In order to ensure that Malaysia is moving towards the right direction, the responsibility lies with us, the people.

This responsibility is social responsibility, which refers to an individual’s obligation to take action and cooperate with others for the benefit of the society. 

Everyone’s contributions is important and required to achieve the end result, which is to co-exist with SARS-CoV-2. One should be responsible and report your status in the MySejahtera app if you are Covid-positive. 

However, it is difficult for the government to implement enforcement if one does not report his or her positive status. If an individual tested positive and chose not to report in MySejahtera, they will not be issued a Home Surveillance Order (HSO). 

This then depends on the individual’s social responsibility, if he or she will stay isolated. If that individual chose to leave the house and mingle with the public, he or she will put everyone at risk.   

For close contacts, they are not required to be quarantined, and allowed to be out and about if they are asymptomatic. With the latest relaxation of SOPs, mask wearing outdoors is also not mandatory. 

The Ministry of Health has recommended the continuation of wearing masks even when outdoors, but again, this will depend on the individual’s sense of social responsibility. 

Close contacts may be positive, but asymptomatic, and if they do not wear masks outdoors, they may infect others unintentionally especially when physical distancing is not possible. 

With the relaxation of SOPs, we may see a surge in cases as well as hospitalisations. We should not say that there is no need to follow the above measures when the number of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths are low. 

Please be socially responsible to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Being socially responsible is crucial for our country to move towards an endemic status.  

Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming is from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.

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