Ignorance causing complacency about virus threat, say experts

People are being lulled into a false sense of security by the lower number of Covid-19 cases, say health experts.

PETALING JAYA: Medical experts said today that people are being complacent in observing health protocols out of a lack of knowledge about disease prevention.

The Malaysian Medical Association said the had been lulled into a false sense of security by the seemingly low number of cases reported by the health ministry.

“Many are looking at the daily cases and may have the impression that things are improving if the daily cases have dropped to single or double digits.

“Shops and restaurants not adhering to SOPs may also be giving people the impression that life is back to normal again when in fact, it isn’t. The pandemic has not been declared over by leading health authorities,” said MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran.

He also said people are being complacent because they do not fully understand the danger of the pandemic.

“Our education system needs to be improved to encourage the reading habit at an early age. Many are not making the effort to educate themselves even when there is an abundance of useful information and updates in the news.”

This is supported by the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey which showed that 28.0% of adult respondents had low health literacy regarding medical issues management, 32.3% lacked knowledge in disease prevention practices and 27.0% had insufficient education in promoting healthy lifestyle habits.

Ganabaskaran also said the public did not show the attitude needed to defeat the pandemic. “There are returnees who failed to go for the second Covid-19 -test required on quarantine despite being informed about its importance”

The head of Malaysian Medics International, Dr Vikkineshwaran Siva Subramaniam, agreed, saying that people have the wrong attitude towards the pandemic because “we only care about things that affect us. That’s human nature.”

He said people must take charge of their bodies by having access to their health information and being aware of their health conditions.

“This culture should be incorporated in our youth and community. We need for people to acknowledge that health is the biggest wealth they have and it is their sole responsibility to ensure their wellbeing.”

He also called for doctors to be more active in educating their patients and families, saying, “this is not an easy feat, but one thing the pandemic has taught us is if there is a will, there is a way.”