The first day of movement control has ended with mixed results.
Generally traffic was very light on the road in George Town tonight. Most shops were closed, apart from convenience stores. A couple of hawkers stalls and a few small eateries were selling ta pau food to customers. But most didn’t bother to open as there were only a few pedestrians on the streets.
I hear some factories are trying to operate even though they may not be in the essential sectors. Is this true?
This is not the time to think of sales and exports. Lives are at stake.
A frontliner in a government hospital I spoke to admitted to being afraid of the risks involved but also complained that the public does not seem to understand the seriousness of the situation. Medical personnel also have to cope with the stress as cases keep pouring in.
Penang now has 30 cases, up from 23 yesterday, while the total for Malaysia has soared to 790 (up 117 from yesterday). And two deaths so far.
That might seem high but in terms of cases per million people for a few selected countries, it is like this for a few selected Asean nations:
Thailand – 3
Malaysia – 22
Singapore – 54
This seems to correspond with these countries’ Global Health Security Index rankings, where Thailand is ahead of Malayia and Singapore in its ability to handle emergency situations. But the numbers in Thailand and Singapore appear to be under control.
The figures for South East Asia compare favourably with some of the more developed nations:
Canada – 16
Australia – 22
UK – 39
China – 56
France – 118
Korea – 164
Italy – 521
But then these developed nations probably have the capability to test more of their people than we do, and our figures could rise in the coming days as more people seek treatment especially after a couple of mass religious gatherings.
These developed nations probably have a lot more ICU beds than Malaysia, which has 691 beds in 56 government hospitals (2017).
A chart going around online says we seem to be following the same trajectory that Italy took. But remember, Italy was able to test many more people – 826 people per million population. How many have we tested? 10,944. That’s about 346 people per million people. Compare that with Korea, which has tested 3,692 persons per millon people as at 8 March.
Italy’s Lombardy province alone has 720 ICU beds, of which 90% is usually occupied in the winter. Quite similar to the Malaysian availabilty of ICU beds (also 90% used in normal situations) capacity for the whole country. And you know what it is like in Italy now.
The blunders and bumbling by the Muhyiddin Yassin-led government have aggravated the situation, especially the order to university students to leave their campus accommodation (which was later reversed). That was a serious blunder, not to mention the requirement for people to head to police stations before they could do inter-state travel. Really?
Meanwhile, let’s do our part and make the jobs of the doctors a little easier by staying at home as much as possible.