On 27 April 2022, our Minister of Health made announcements on the relaxation of all SOPs except indoor mask mandate.
The public’s responses are two-sided, with one side being very happy to finally be free of most of the restrictions, while the other side is skeptical about the relaxation.
In order to ensure that our country is moving towards the right direction, the responsibility lies with us, the people.
This responsibility is social responsibility which refers to an individual’s obligation to take action and cooperate with others for the benefit of the society at large.
Everyone’s contribution is important and required to achieve the end results, which is to coexist with the SARS-CoV-2.
Social responsibility in the reporting of being COVID-19 positive in MySejahtera is important. But it is difficult for the government to implement enforcement if one does not report his/her positive status.
If an individual tests positive and chooses not to report in MySejahtera, he or she will not be issued home surveillance order (HSO).
This then depends on the individual’s social responsibility if he or she will stay isolated.
If that individual chooses to leave the house or be out in the public, he/she will put the public at risk.
For close contacts, they are not required to be quarantined and allowed to be out in the public if asymptomatic.
With the latest relaxation of SOPs, mask wearing outdoors is no longer mandatory.
Although the Ministry of Health has recommended this group to continue wearing masks even outdoors, again this will depend on the individual’s social responsibility.
These close contacts may be positive but asymptomatic and if they do not wear masks outdoors, they may infect the public unintentionally, especially when physical distancing is not possible.
With the relaxation of SOPs, we may see a surge in cases as well as hospitalization rates if some of the people are being social irresponsible.
We should not regard there is no need to follow the above measures when our number of cases, hospitalizations and death rates are low.
Please be socially responsible to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Being socially responsible is crucial for our country to move towards endemic status.
(Professor Dr. Moy Foong Ming, Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.)