‘Cuti-cuti’ pandemic: The new scourge

JANUARY 6 — Social media has been very depressing the past few weeks as I've had to open my pages to see various friends and acquaintances going on holiday.

It seems the new CMCO border relaxation has somehow awakened a collective wanderlust as people crowded beaches and booked up hotels — even the Mandarin Oriental was fully booked in the last two weeks of December.

I get it. Times have been hard. People dependent on tourism such as the hoteliers, tour operators, F&B owners and the like suffer from there being no foreign tourists.

While I understand domestic tourism is key to helping the sector out, has everyone seemed to have forgotten we are still in the midst of a global pandemic?

Is it any coincidence that Penang and Melaka both are now full red zones, likely thanks to the influx of tourists from other states?

Sorry, politicians, you can't blame the foreign workers or prisoners for the rising numbers this time.

Selangor still averages between 500 to 1,000 cases a day. We are still as a whole country still seeing numbers in the four figures daily.

Pandemic fatigue is real and yes, I get that people miss going out, miss family, miss seeing anything other than the view outside their homes or workplaces.

It's not going to get better anytime soon — that is the simple reality.

There is no guarantee the vaccines will be in time to stem the worst of the outbreak. Sg. Buluh is overwhelmed and though the health director-general says not to panic too much about the numbers on one hand, on the other he is telling people to stay put and also prepare, if need be, to self-isolate at home.

Having to self-isolate instead of going to the hospital means just one thing: that even if you're diagnosed, you might not even get to be warded.

If you're lucky, your symptoms might not be terrible and not being in a hospital won't be too bad. But if you're not and your symptoms worsen before you get to a ward, what will you do then?

I fail to see how making memories of a year-end family vacation is worth risking creating memories of dying in an ICU without even getting to say goodbye in person.

Japan is planning to declare a state of emergency. Germany is tightening Covid measures. Numbers are rising in almost every country in the world.

Yet somehow Malaysia and Malaysians are acting as though, like New Zealand and China, life is (almost) back to the old normal, but with pesky masks.

At the same time politicians are calling for elections, as if they did not learn from the disaster of Sabah.

I don't know who needs to hear this but the pandemic isn't over. Wishing it wouldn't make it so and I think instead of being less afraid, now is the time to be more so. 

Stay home, stay safe, stay masked: that's the only hope we have to stay alive because clearly, the captains of our ship have long jumped overboard.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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