IDEAS: Targeted approaches work better at this stage of Covid-19 pandemic

Police personnel inspect vehicles at a roadblock along Jambatan Merdeka, at the Kedah-Penang border  May 10, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Police personnel inspect vehicles at a roadblock along Jambatan Merdeka, at the Kedah-Penang border May 10, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 ― The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) believes a targeted approach works better at this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic as the government has the difficult task of balancing public health with economic concerns.

Chief executive officer Tricia Yeoh said the movement control order (MCO) 3.0 which is unavoidable, will have detrimental effects on the current struggling economy.

“Those in the retail, tourism and food and beverage sectors will continue to suffer as they had been doing for the past year,” she told Bernama.

Hence, Yeoh said a full lockdown is really not feasible.

She reckoned a targeted approach can work best if it is driven by data and when it is uniformly applied to all sectors across the board.

“Although MCO 3.0 will have a reduced impact compared to MCO 1.0 as people understand more about the Covid-19 virus and more sectors of the economy are allowed to operate, there is still insufficient data for Malaysia to determine the right ― and more targeted ― solutions.

“The Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system is a good initiative but solutions linked to it were poorly executed,” she noted.

Apart from that, the government needs to increase its mass testing capacity.

“This needs to be rolled out in every state, and the federal government can provide the resources to the state governments to do so while coordinating with them on data collection as well.

“Finally, greater efforts need to be taken to communicate the urgency of signing up for the Covid-19 vaccination,” Yeoh added.

At present, only 30 per cent of Malaysians having signed up for the national vaccination programme.

“Although the process is slowed by the fact that procurement of the vaccines was slow to begin with, I believe registrations need to pick up.

“Once the majority of the population is vaccinated, this will ensure that lockdowns are no longer used in the long term, in turn ensuring that there will be reduced economic impact.

“Things can go back to normal and this is what the Malaysian economy is in dire need of,” she noted.

The stricter MCO 3.0 begins today in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. ― Bernama

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