Here's a report of what's been happening in Malaysia with regards to COVID-19.
The first wave of 22 patients hit between the 24th of January through to the 15th of February. Of these cases, 15 were Chinese nationals who had visited Malaysia.
After the first wave of 22 cases, we thought the worst was over as the country enjoyed an 11 day period of no new cases. Then, disaster struck.
As a result of this religions event, the number of cases in Malaysia has increased drastically, currently sitting at 900 cases as of the 19th of March, with 64% of those cases originating from this event. Currently we're on a 5-day streak of more than 100 new cases a day, so it's expected that the country will pass the 1000 cases mark today.
Because of this, our government has declared a Restricted Movement Order (RMO) in an effort to curb the spread of the disease. However, many of us here are unhappy because of the messy nature with which this was planned, largely due to the fact that there was a political coup amidst this global pandemic.
This political bickering even went so far as to the "opposition" leaders not being invited to the new government's meeting on how to combat the spread of the disease.
The RMO was so poorly executed that it led to a lot of confusion, and while the purpose of it was to prevent people from gathering and potentially spreading the disease even further, the exact opposite happened. People gathered at supermarkets as panic buying ensued. People gathered at bus terminals as they tried to rush back home before the RMO began, and people had to gather at police stations to get permission for interstate travel. We hope all these mass gatherings won't come back to bite us in the ass in a week or two, but who knows.
Things have gotten so bad that even the army is being deployed this Sunday.
Needless to say, Malaysians are not happy with how this new government has been handling things.
We are however, very happy with our Ministry of Health (MOH). The level of commitment, organisation, and professionalism shown by our MOH has been exceptional. So much so that even the WHO praised it.
While there's a bunch of fake news flying around social media and instant messaging, the MOH's Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre as well as the Malaysian National Security Council are doing a great job of disseminating information not just via social media, but via their own official Telegram channels as well, which have grown enormously in terms of followers since the pandemic began.
While we can be very proud of our healthcare workers, some Malaysians though are not making lives any easier for these frontliners.
We're due for another update from our MOH in a couple of hours, and as I said earlier I expect the number of cases to pass the 1000 mark today. Things are looking bleak, but I hope Malaysians can get their act together, obey the RMO, and hopefully we'll contain this disease sooner rather than later.