It feels as though the Covid-19 pandemic has been going on forever. While many were hopeful things would start looking up in 2021, the new, infectious strain has effectively put those hopes into the ground.
As the numbers rise and more stories get circulated, many are calling for Malaysia to enter a total lockdown. However, opinions differ on whether a total lockdown will be beneficial or harmful towards Malaysia in the long run.
Is there a need for a lockdown?
The increasing numbers play a huge part in Malaysians calling for total lockdown. As of yesterday (17th May), the cases reached 4,446. There are predictions that these number will go even higher by the end of May. Many also feel that the current MCO 3.0 is ineffective. Twitter user @emkay31532217 stated she observed parents bringing their kids to public facilities. “Life seems normal, as if there is no MCO,” she wrote. Twitter user @mk_themenace agreed saying, “SOP doesn’t eliminate risk. It only minimises risk.” Many are also worn out with the double standards shown to local celebrities and authorities who break the SOPs.
Regular citizens aren’t the only ones advocating for a total lockdown. Healthcare and frontline workers are pleading for one as well. “Buy us some time please, total lockdown,” Twitter user @mohdhelmi said. He stated they were lacking essentials like manpower, beds and ventilators which are necessary to ‘catch up’ with the rampage. The Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham has also explained that medical facilities are being overwhelmed and are struggling to keep up with the situation.
While many have stated they understand it isn’t easy to do a total lockdown, it seems to be the only way out. “Cases are rising each day. SOPs are becoming nonsensical. At least, who knows a total lockdown could help,” Twitter user @emrhfdza said. They hope something similar to MCO1.0 could be implemented to stop the rising cases. “I think (there’s) no choice now,” Twitter user @drhafidzhasan admitted solemnly.
The downside to a lockdown
However, their counterparts disagree. The main cause of concern is what a total lockdown could do to Malaysia’s economy. According to Twitter user @MusRules, a total lockdown would mean that businesses and private sectors will suffer terribly. Many netizens also argue that the government cannot afford financial help like in the 1st MCO. “People (are) urging for a lockdown as if everyone is privileged enough to have supplies for everything. While not everyone is privileged, even those capable (financially) still wish for help from the government. Total lockdown may help but it can also bring Malaysia to hell in the long run,” Twitter user @itsse0601_ said.
Some netizens are also of the opinion that a total lockdown is useless. “In Malaysia, we (had) one from Mar to May 2020 and it did NOTHING to the ‘cases’ trajectory. Yet they believe another would miraculously achieve their ‘Zero Covid’ utopia,” Twitter user @yowchuan said scornfully. But, others argue that netizens do not understand what a ‘total lockdown’ actually means. According to user @ans47, they are confusing MCO 1.0 with a total lockdown. “I think as for now, MCO 1.0 with all it’s aids and assistance is sufficient. No need total lockdown,” he said.
While many claim they understand a total lockdown could jeopardise Malaysia’s economy, to them, the risk is worth the lives they could save. As Twitter user @Farrezlrsyad said, “Total lockdown is not easy for some people but how long do we want to deal with 4k-3k cases everyday?“
You’ve heard both sides and seen the pros and cons of a total lockdown. What do you think?