Let’s be realistic, 2 weeks of lockdown IS NOT ENOUGH!
The need for further lockdown or MCO 4.0 means that MCO 3.0 has failed.
There were at least 3 factors why MCO 3.0 failed. These were:
1. Failure to develop a competent close contact tracing mechanism. Failure to identify , test and isolate close contacts within 48 hours caused the chain of transmission to continue and new cases multiply. Developing effective contact tracing requires investment in additional human resource and the amount needed for such investment (beside creating jobs) is only a fraction of the economic loss due to MCO. I made this suggestion last year on 28th April 2020. Unfortunately this was not done.
2. Failure to develop mass testing capability. The current capacity of less than 200,000 tests per day is far from adequate. If we are able to do millions of test per day, duration of any MCO can be limited to only 2 weeks because all infected cases can be identified and isolated with these 2-week period.
3. Poor compliance with SOP from the Rakyat. This is partly contributed by flip-flop SOP.
None of the factors leading to the failure of MCO 3.0 has changed! Do we expect a different outcome from MCO 4.0?
We are now in critical moment in the pandemic control and the daily new cases is destined to surpass 10,000. Even if MCO 4.0 is successful, the number of new cases every day will still be more than 5,000 after 2 weeks. This will cause a rebound as soon as the restriction is eased. What do we do after that?!
Apart from a protracted or repeated lockdown, the other option is to expedite the vaccination program. If we can achieve 16 million doses vaccinated (or about 50 doses per 100 population), the daily new cases will decline without stringent lockdown. This outcome has been seen in other countries.
At a rate of 150,000 doses per day it will take another 88 days before we can reach 16 million doses, from the current 2.8 million doses. It will only be achieved at the end of August 2021. Can our economy sustain such long duration of lockdown?!
We just need to ramp up the vaccination program! Get more vaccines by all means. Get more centres for vaccination! Get to 300,000 doses per day and achieve 50 doses per 100 population by July 2021!
DR LEE BOON CHYE
Member of Parliament (Gopeng)
Parti Keadilan Rakyat