CORONAVIRUS | The authorities have pleaded, coaxed and threatened the people to stay at home, even dragging some to court for violating the movement control order (MCO), yet many still persist on ignoring them.

Last Sunday, 828 people were detained in roadblocks and patrols conducted by the authorities for their defiance against the MCO, which was imposed to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

All sorts of excuses were given, including going out to borrow cigarettes from mates, to buy food (even though they were far from home), fishing, and even to jog, causing many a policeman to metaphorically (and actually?) slap their foreheads in amazement.

Knowingly or unknowingly, it is this stubborn attitude that is the stumbling block to the government’s efforts to break the chain of the Covid-19 infections, and as of last night, the virus has claimed the lives of 37 people, with 2,626 more positive cases.

This recalcitrant attitude has forced the hand of the authorities into imposing the enhanced movement control order in red areas where a high number of cases have been recorded.

The latest was Menara City One, on Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Kuala Lumpur, where 17 positive Covid-19 cases were found.

Before that, the enhanced MCO was imposed on Kampung Dato’ Ibrahim Majid and Bandar Baharu Dato’ Ibrahim Majid, Simpang Renggam, Johor, and the Batu 21 to Batu 24 area in Sungai Lui, Hulu Langat, Selangor.

Today is the 14th day of the MCO, but the number of positive cases remain high, leaving the government with no choice but to tighten the rules as the second phase of the order looms on April 1.

Yesterday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that beginning Wednesday, business premises which sell daily essential items, including supermarkets as well as petrol stations, are only permitted to operate from 8am until 8pm.

Similarly, food outlets and restaurants, as well as food delivery services, can only operate during the same hours, while the movement of vehicles will also be restricted.

These are measures which have to be imposed for the general good of all Malaysians and to curb the third Covid-19 wave resulting from the lax attitude of the public.

In preparation for the third wave, the government has set up the Quarantine and Treatment Centre for low-risk Covid-19 patients at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS).

- Bernama

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