By Izzah Muhd Fadhil
As much as we have never anticipated the fact that we are living in a pandemic, we are currently adapting to move to endemic now. And all transitions require change in which there will be a preparation needed, despite whether we are ready or not.
“We need to be prepared for our new normal or another new surge. We’ve got to do both.” said Dr. Michael Osterholm in the Washington Post.
In order to better prepare the initiatives for the Perak rakyat, the Perak government has made a one month survey across 9,639 individuals as young as 21 years old, representing 12 districts in Perak. We can see that assistance in terms of health such as providing the Covid-19 self test kit for the rakyat is perceived as a helpful effort. The effort in the healthcare system also includes the government’s help in providing mental health services to those who are affected. It can be deduced that rakyat has seen the effort in providing healthcare is satisfactory and needed. With the increase and unstoppable spread of fake news, it is interesting to see that the survey has shown the rakyat’s level of satisfaction with the clear presentation of information on Covid-19. We can conclude the transition of our delivery system and the quality of government’s information is sufficient. It is fair to say that from the output of this survey, they felt the services in dissection of crucial information is at a satisfactory level. However, it is important to review the existing system such as the capability of MySejahtera apps in tracking diseases, showing patterns of vaccine taken, as a central way to update the latest standard operating procedure, without jeopardizing the user’s privacy and so on.
Further, the survey has shown the interests for people to be provided with the basic necessities and shelter assistance in the transition to the epidemic mode. The general requests of rakyat can be distributed into 7 categories which are welfare, security, health and healthcare, economy and employment, education and human capital, statistics updates and information, and lastly is political stability. The very last element is the most crucial one as we can assume that rakyat is experiencing political fatigue as to what has happened and what is happening in Malaysia’s political stage.
Although this survey surely does not represent each individual of Perak, it can still be used as a framework in understanding the perception and readiness of Perak rakyat in transitioning to an endemic mode. There are indeed relevant questions to elaborate more such as their mental health in the position of being affected by the pandemic, the access to basic necessities such as menstrual products, and the division of care work at home. In the end, this very discussion is relative depending on each individual. There are many factors in shaping their readiness and perception to switch to endemic such as the socio-economic group, the educational background and many more.
“I don’t know what is ahead, but the Covid-19 variants are not done with us. We need to be honest as to what our real surge capacity is today, and what level of staffing and supplies we might need in a possible next round.” said Dr. Michael Osterholm to Forbes in Mac 2022.
The Covid-19 is certainly not done with us, it is up to us in responding and surviving now, with this virus as rent-free in our lives.