A Balance Between Health and Economy

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and the possibility of a 4th Wave in Malaysia, when will we be able to return to normal? There is always a need to balance between health and economy, as they are not independent and what happens in one will affect the other. We must ensure that when we are focusing on managing the COVID-19 pandemic the economy should not suffer.

In an interview with Hakem Hassan from theSunDaily, Professor Dr Victor Hoe discussed on this issue.

  1. The Malaysian Rating Corporation (MARC) believes that the government will lift the ban on interstate travel soon. Could this come to be a reality? Should they?
  2. They also suggested that stronger enforcement of SOPs should be prioritised instead of movement restrictions. Is this a wise move?
  3. PM Muhyiddin has also mentioned that those who have received the two doses of vaccine will be allowed interstate travel even if the ban remains. Is this a good idea?

Prof Dr Victor Hoe responds to the questions: “Eventually things need to return to some form of normality.

My principle is simple. There is always risk in everything that we do. We cannot avoid risk, we just need to manage it.

There are some proposals that people who have been fully vaccinated should be allowed to travel, not just interstate but also regionally and internationally. This is a good proposal as people who have been fully vaccinated have protection against getting the COVID-19 disease and transmitting the disease to others. However, we should not limit interstate travel to people who have completed their vaccination as this would not be fair at the current moment. We know that people who want the vaccine may not have a chance to get the vaccine.

The best way to allow interstate travel is to ensure that people continue to follow strict SOP. The COVID-19 disease has been with us for more than 1 year and we already know how it can be transmitted and how to avoid transmission. With the strict SOP, we will be able to avoid transmission and the spread of the disease. 

We know a lot about the disease already and we know how to avoid transmission and the spread of the disease. The point is not stricter or stronger enforcement, but people need to be responsible and follow the SOP. We need to empower the public to ensure that people follow the SOP. If you see someone not following the SOP, we need to politely advise them to follow the SOP. If you see that the restaurant or shops are not ensuring people follow SOP, then we should not frequent those restaurants or shops.

Although the number of cases may be coming down in some areas, we should not be complacent, we know what happened in September/October 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, we are seeing a lot of resurgence around the world. Follow the SOP and we will be safe.”  

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