Better to restrict the movement of people

I am just an ordinary citizen writing without privileged information or intricate knowledge. But, hopefully, I do have some common sense.

Do we wait for an emergency situation to emerge before doing something? Or, preferably, we take action to preempt an emergency situation?

I am referring to Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s statement that Malaysia will continue to allow tourists from China into the country because the situation has not reached the “level” to bar the entry of tourists yet.

Besides, according to her, China has taken action to block the departure of tourists from Wuhan, the epicentre of the latest coronavirus.

But, have we not seen the spread of this virus worldwide? Do we know for sure the virus is carried only by the travellers from Wuhan and nowhere else from China? Do we know for sure the incubation period of this virus and for how long it could stay undetected in a patient/carrier?

Sometimes, we are just penny wise, pound foolish. We yearn for tourist dollars but eventually, it may cost us more, not just materially but in human lives as well.

Surely, it makes more sense for every country to play its part by restricting the movement of people, unless it is of absolute necessity.

How effective can it be to depend on a few health workers to screen thousands of tourists moving in and out of the country? Already we have seen tourists infected with the virus but refusing to be quarantined in our hospital.

There is no known vaccine available at the moment for this dreadful virus. Surely, it is more logical to take steps to contain and control the movement of people, at least until the “storm” is over. Business as usual may cost us more.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.