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Saturday, December 31, 2022

YOURSAY | Visitors from China: A test for unity govt on Covid-19 control


YOURSAY | 'There is nothing more important than addressing this right now.'

Health Ministry braces for China's re-opening and Covid-19 surge

Observing the Nation: From what I know, China had Covid-19 zero cases, whereas previously, any increase of cases to a certain threshold or measurement would cause city-wide closure.

This disrupted citizen's life a lot. Recently, some citizens there were against the central government’s continued restriction controls.

Following that, the government chose to lessen the restrictions - like how we and many other countries did. We lived with Covid-19.

Hence, lifting the restrictions also means an increase in cases. However, take this information with a pinch of salt.

So, are we going to implement heightened control for visitors from China? Aren't we doing the same for visitors from other countries? Are we not doing the same for other countries?

What makes visitors from China, who has opened its borders, follow what we are doing? What are most countries doing differently?

Green Bear: Good questions, I've been wondering about that too. But I think there are several possible answers.

China is mainly using what mainstream health experts consider as fewer effective vaccines, so the risk of Covid-19 overspreading and overwhelming our healthcare would be higher.

Now one can argue about whether the effectiveness argument is true or not. But that's what mainstream health experts think, like it or not, they set the policies.

The risk of new variants emerging. China is not very transparent with its findings, that's just a fact. Just recalled what they did to Li Wenliang in 2019.

Even now they're telling lies about how they only got one to three Covid death per day. So, if a new variant is to emerge, we can't trust China to tell us in a timely manner so we can adequately prepare.

As with the sheer volume of infected people coming in, findings in Italy showed that about 50 percent of people travelling from China are infected.

Fifty percent means a lot of infected people coming in considering that we could get more than a million China tourists. Of course, not at the same time, but that's still a lot, especially when coupled with concerns from mainstream health experts that China's vaccine is not very effective at curbing the spread or preventing severe symptoms.

Our hospitals might be overcrowded with sick people travelling from China.

Of course, that's just my take. Honestly, I would love more tourists coming in, it helps the economy. So, I wouldn't want a suspension like what Malaysia Tourism Agency Association (Mata) is suggesting.

For now, I think a simple Covid-19 test on arrival and genome sequencing to detect possible new variants would be fine.

Just monitor, if conditions do worsen, then maybe put more restrictions. Of course, some would argue it might already be too late by then with our hospitals crowding up, leading to many avoidable deaths. Unfortunately, this scenario is not remote, it's possible.

Cogito Ergo Sum: This will be the real test for the entire government machinery. Barring any leakages and malfeasances, it will be a huge challenge to keep the covid numbers down.

How will the Finance Ministry cope with the expected surge while we are still grappling with basic needs and a shortage of medical personnel?

This will be the baptism of fire for the unity government. Brace yourselves and prepare for the worst.

For A Better World: Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa should put in place immediate and strict controls on all arrivals from China. Two years ago, it was the "Wuhan Virus" that devastated the globe.

Have we forgotten the scourge, which dealt a heavy blow on us all? Now again, this Covid-19 variant BF. 7, is going to descend upon us.

Have we failed to observe how it is ravaging parts of China, especially the big cities? The US, India, and European countries have banned visitors from China.

I fully understand, China is our big trading partner, but a killer pandemic is deadly. I hope urgent and swift action is implemented by the Health Ministry, its minister, and director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah soon.

I Am A Malaysian: This is faulty reasoning. Unrestricted omicron BF.7 if coming directly from China will certainly be in very much higher numbers than if coming indirectly from another country that has been infected by China.

You are only half right to say when previously Malaysia's borders were controlled the delta variant still crept through and killed a lot of Malaysians and created serious havoc and cost our country several hundred billion ringgit to mitigate the scourge including vaccinating (and vaccinating) Malaysians.

But when the deadly delta mutated into the milder omicron, our government had no choice but to open Malaysia's borders before we go bankrupt, but it was not happy after ending since then.

Malaysians although already vaccinated, still must follow Covid-19 prevention practices up until today.

Imagine, my friend, if there were no measures taken to contain the full devastating impact of covid in whatever variant/mutation when it threatens to come in like a tsunami, as the grave situation in China now is an ominous sign of that coming Covid-19 tsunami.

E Kumar: We are now back to January 2020, and it is imperative that we take heed of the painful lessons learnt over the past three years. The situation with China is unique given that it was ground zero.

China has also only recently lifted bans and covid restrictions at an accelerated rate whilst the rest of the world took many months to get to where we are at. The vaccine advocated for use in China is also later found to be the weakest.

We are seeing massive surges in cases and deaths in the most populous nation on the planet today. The Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration and a mass exodus is expected.

The entire world suffered almost two years of lockdowns and restrictions because of bad decisions made by leaders although it is hard to blame them given that no one knew what was coming and how to manage, and even when they did, convincing billions was an uphill battle back then.

Now that we know, let’s allow conversations and debates around the matter and use data to drive decision-making.

Will we impose a ban? Or will we impose stricter restrictions on the country? How do we tackle tourists from countries open to China? Or are we just going to ask everyone to update their vaccines and boosters again in trying to shield the nation from another two years of lockdowns?

Hope wisdom prevails. Hope this new unity government understands that there is nothing more important than addressing this right now. - Mkini

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