By Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily
There's this gloom hanging over us over the past two weeks, as if the coronavirus is getting nearer and nearer to us.
It is not just a gloom but reality as a matter of fact. I wasn't talking about over 3k new cases reported in a day, but that the virus has really come to our midst!
In Sin Chew Daily, already three have tested positive for COVID-19 in just a couple of days. One by one our colleagues fell to the virus, causing their departments to close momentarily and all staff staying away as disinfection was being carried out.
New cases have also been reported in our community chat groups. Everything was fine for several months before that.
When news of coronavirus was not just reports on the media but happening right next to us, at our workplace or residential neighborhood, it is no more other people's business but ours!
The over 3k daily new infection numbers have justified our fears.
I have noticed a prevalent perception in the local Chinese community who think the virus will only infect migrant workers or spread within specific ethnic communities and therefore, Chinese are relatively safe.
There have been talks in local Chinese social circles warning people to stay away from places with large concentrations of migrant workers and non-Chinese, including restaurants and bazaars, as if the virus will not travel beyond such places.
And many Chinese Malaysians have plenty to grumble about Ramadan bazaars, and they feel excessively worried about possible spike in human traffic during the festive season.
Probability-wise, such concern is not completely unfounded, but as this was true in the past, things have changed nowadays!
When we criticize other people, we seem to have forgotten that our own living circles are equally risky.
What I was trying to say is that most of the positive COVID-19 cases in the past were happened among migrant workers and non-Chinese, but this is no longer the case today. There has been a marked increase in confirmed cases among the Chinese.
This phenomenon is not only reported on local media and social media networks, but has also been observed by frontliners at many government hospitals and quarantine centers.
Such a shift could be attributed to the new-found "freedom" when rules were relaxed as we migrated to the CMCO phase from MCO. Many started to go out shopping, dining out and gathering. Malls and restaurants are bursting at the seams. Dinner events and large crowd gatherings have been held, publicly or secretly.
We have not only taken the virus too lightly, but seem to have celebrated humanity's victory over the virus in advance. That's when the virus seizes the opportunity to launch fierce assaults on us.
To make things worse, it's human ignorance and apathy that have given the virus a free passage.
Some don't seem to know that they need to go for immediate screening the moment they suspect they have been infected, while others still go out roaming freely before their test results are released.
When a case was reported at a coffee shop in Negeri Sembilan, only two out of the 16 customers notified went for the screening test. One of the them tested positive but still ate out at a restaurant, shopped at a mall and visited a hair saloon to get her hair shampooed.
This walking virus could have spread to dozens and even hundreds of other people. Even her own granddaughter exposed her selfish act on Facebook and urged her companions to go for screening.
In Simpang Renggam, Johor, a local women association chartered three buses to travel to another town for holiday. Already there were people infected when they got back to Simpang Renggam, and the cluster has since grown to 27 people today.
Other than the two aforementioned instances, there are still plenty of known or unknown cases or clusters all because of human ignorance and apathy. Many Chinese primary schools have also been temporarily closed because of infections involving students.
If we don't even bother to help ourselves, no one is going to help us!