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MCO 2021: Stay calm, it’ll be alright

Sarawak is placed under Movement Control Order (MCO) for the second time, beginning May 28 until June 11, 2021, as announced on Thursday, May 27 by State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

While we’ve been through MCO before, unfortunately there was still panic buying. The streets were lined with cars as people made their way to the nearby malls and supermarkets a day before the partial lockdown to stock up for the coming two weeks.

 

Keep calm, stay home

Panic buying following the announcement of yet another MCO in Sarawak shouldn’t have happened, considering how we’ve been through this before in 2020. But then again, such reaction is understandable. Some level of preparedness is necessary when facing situations such as lockdowns and MCO.

But at the same time, we need to take it easy. We’ve experienced MCO before, so this one should be more or less the same. We all know the drill. Stay home and stay safe. Follow SOP as closely as possible. Take care of your personal hygiene at all times. Always keep a bottle of sanitiser on you. Wear a protective mask when necessary. Don’t get out of the house unless you really need to.

In the weeks leading to the MCO, several trends popped up, including one that went viral for a good while – in-car dining. When it was announced that dining in restaurants and cafés were no longer allowed during the Conditional MCO (CMCO) with tightened standard operating procedures (SOP) in Sarawak, many resorted to in-car dining. They fixed mini tables on their steering wheels or bring a small table with them to put their food on. That way they could enjoy their favourite food fresh from the shop. The trend went viral and many started doing the same, until in-car dining was declared as breaking SOP.

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases and emergence of new clusters in Sarawak have been tied to visiting during Hari Raya over two weeks ago despite warnings over the risks of doing so amidst the enduring pandemic.

With Gawai Dayak less than a week away, it’s best to remember that while it is a celebration of great significance to the Dayak community, it is also crucial that this year’s Gawai does not involve visiting and large gatherings so as to keep the coronavirus from spreading further.

 

Double masking

If there is one trend that should be followed, it’s double masking! Validated by CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious diseases expert, double masking can help filter out more particles than a single cloth mask.

But do not get it wrong. Wearing double disposable masks can mean trouble for you. It could make it more difficult to breathe. The correct way according to a study by the CDC is to wear a washable cloth mask on top of a disposable mask (medical grade more ideally). This does not affect the amount of oxygen you are breathing in.

Double masking helps block 85.4% of pathogens – a significant number compared to just 56.1% with disposable surgical mask or 51.4% with just a cloth mask.

Knot and tuck is another effective way of wearing a mask. Simply tie the ear loops close to the mask’s edges and tuck in the side pleats for better protection. This method blocks out 77% compared to just unknotted and untucked mask.

It’s also crucial to note that while the N95 mask is most effective of all (blocks out 95%), it is dangerous to wear two of it at once, or paired with any other kind of mask at all.

 

We can do this

Now that we’re under MCO again, it’s time for us to really do our part and help to combat COVID-19 as one. Stay calm and do what’s right. We’ll get through this!

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