Fear of Covid-19 might hold back recovery, says minister

A minister says that although businesses have reopened, there is a psychology of fear about Covid-19.

TAMPIN: A federal minister has spoken out about the Covid-19 pandemic having created a psychology of fear among the people, hampering their return to normal activities.

Economics minister Mustapa Mohamed said a public fearful of normal activities could be a stumbling block to Malaysia’s economic recovery.

Mustapa, who is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, noted that businesses had begun to reopen as part of efforts to revive the economy.

Mustapa Mohamed is economics minister

“We are grateful that after June 10 there have been some relaxations, small hotels have started taking reservations, hotels are gradually reopening while airlines have resumed domestic flights, small and medium enterprises have resumed operations, and we see that the government’s desire to revive the economy has succeeded partially, though not completely,” he said.

However, the spread of Covid-19 had affected the psychological wellbeing of the public, a factor that could slow down the economic recovery process.

“The psychological effect on the public, making them fearful of carrying out normal daily activities like going on holiday, going out shopping or to school and the like, is the main stumbling block to economic recovery,” he said at a media conference here today after a working visit to the Bukit Rokan Felda settlement near here.

On efforts to control the pandemic, he said: “We can say it has been successful, and some of the ways we handled the crisis has become an example for the world, and both developing and developed countries are emulating our methods.

“If handling the health issue is the first phase, the second phase is reviving the economy, and Penjana (the short-term economic recovery plan announced on June 5) is being closely monitored,” he said.

He added that an estimated 90% of Malaysians have returned to work, a sign that the economy is recovering.

“The focus of the government now includes explaining the standard procedures. If the SOPs can be explained further, we will be able to see several economic sectors reopening and operating smoothly,” he said.

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