,Long-drawn battle: People at a vaccination centre in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a tight race between the speed of new variant generation and the speed of vaccination in the country.
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QUESTIONS like when and how will the pandemic end?
When the lockdowns are done haphazardly and disjointedly, questions arise as to whether they should continue.
Should the lockdown continue as it has failed to suppress the virus spread or should containment measures be eased as concerns swirl over new variants?
It has been a long-drawn battle against the Covid-19 pandemic for more than 18 months, businesses and people are battle-weary, pandemic-fatigued and in despair. “Open-shut” containment measures have caused deeper scarring effects on the economy, households, individuals and businesses.
Malaysia’s green shoot economic recovery path is disrupted.
A deep concern is that the longer the restricted containment measures, the economic damage would be long-lasting and irreversible, as well as having far-reaching social implications on the society.
The economic blows on some sectors would take years to recover, the poorest and most vulnerable will bear a disproportionately high share of the burden.
Small businesses as well as the small and medium enterprises have drained their cash reserves and have difficulties to restart.Lee Heng Guie SERC
Countries face a trade-off between health and the economy in their response to Covid-19 either through a lockdown or no lockdown.
The lockdowns have a considerable negative effect on economic activity due to the supply and demand destruction as well as stalled production.
Countries that have introduced lockdowns early when the number of cases were still low, had reported considerable fewer infections compared with countries that implemented lockdowns when cases were already high.
Besides, tight and shortlived lockdowns would be superior to contain infections compared with mild but prolonged measures.
Research by the International Monetary Fund shows that the economic impact from a lockdown is about equal to the effects of people voluntarily social distancing when they are worried about the higher rates of infection.
There is now growing narrative that it’s time to change the saving lives-livelihood strategy from pandemic to endemic.
We may never be able to control this pandemic outbreak, which saw new virulent variants spreading fast in the community, and be forced to live with the virus for good.
Singapore and the United Kingdom are planning to live with Covid-19.
The path out of the pandemic is seen as a test case for other nations as they ramp up their vaccination programmes.
It is a critical time for our nation now – a tight race between the speed of new variant generation and the speed of vaccination. The National Recovery Plan has laid out four phases of transition to safe reopening and returning to normalcy.