LETTER | Should we start #DuniaGagal to reflect global Covid-19 surge?

Hafiz Muzaffar


LETTER | After more than six weeks since the movement control order 3.0 was implemented, the number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia has not only refused to fall, but has spiked. On July 13, our daily new infections have breached the five-figure mark for the first time at 11,079 cases.

Malaysians are understandably upset. After a prolonged period of being holed up at home, with many denied the opportunity to earn a living, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. In our fit of anger and disappointment, we often look for a scapegoat and often, the government becomes the target of our fury.

While the government, which sits at the apex of the chain of command in our war against the unseen enemy, is often where the buck stops, we have to acknowledge that this government is not alone struggling to contain this global pandemic.

Countries in this region like Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea, which used to be touted as exemplary nations in keeping the Covid-19 at bay, are now scrambling to slow down the rate of infection and deaths, especially those brought about by the Delta variant.

Thailand reported 9,317 new infections on July 14, bringing the kingdom's caseload to over 360,000 cases, of which over 90 percent were recorded only at the start of April this year.

South Korea, once a success story in handling Covid-19, also saw record daily new infections on July 14 at 1,615 cases, as the government tightened distancing rules across most of the country. The country, with a population of 51 million, has also seen its vaccination rate fall to some 30,000 doses a day, from 850,000 a day in early June.

In Vietnam, the total number of infections was only around 2,800 for the few months. In the last two months, the country has recorded some 22,000 new cases.

Indonesia's healthcare system is buckling under the pressure of soaring cases, which recorded a daily high of 47,899 on July 13 with 864 fatalities, a figure experts say are conservative due to under-reporting.

More than 2.6 million people in Indonesia have tested positive for the virus as public healthcare in the republic has started turning away non-coronavirus patients due to lack of capacity.

 Even in the United Kingdom, over 42,000 new infections were reported on July 14, the highest since Jan 15, as debate rages in the country on whether to proceed with lifting restrictions, starting July 19.

The World Health Organisation has attributed the global surge in cases to the Delta variant. Its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier this week warned of "devastating outbreaks" from the new strain infecting people "at a scorching pace".

Malaysia is not alone in facing an uncontrollable spike in Covid-19 infections. The Health Ministry has confirmed that the new variant is already in the country. Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had attributed the current spike to this variant. “One of the reasons is because of the Delta variant. It is airborne and so the transmission is faster,” he was quoted as saying.

We need to look at Malaysia's current surge in infections as part of a global trend and cannot be seen in isolation. If it's #KerajaanGagal in Malaysia, should we start #DuniaGagal now?

Call it whatever we want, we just need to play our part by abiding with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures and get ourselves vaccinated.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.