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Wise moves needed when treading on unfamiliar ground

02 Oct 2020 / 12:40 H.

SHOULD we or should we not? This is a perennial question to which there is no straight answer, no black and white response.

This is in reference to the case of Gregory Vijayendran and his wife, who tried unsuccessfully to come from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to attend his brother’s funeral.

Given that Vijayendran never received a response from the Immigration Department to his application to come to Malaysia, we will never know if it would have been allowed.

But the question remains: should there be some leeway under extenuating circumstances?

Here, we will have to weigh the benefits against the risks.

Allowing an exemption would have made one person or one family grateful. On the other hand, on the chance that one of them carries the infection and spreads it to others, an entire community would be put at risk.

In such a scenario, the answer is obvious - it is too risky to allow.

The world is dealing with a crisis it has never ever seen before. Every day, we see the number of new infections rises by hundreds of thousands.

Latest data shows that the number of cases worldwide has exceeded 34 million and the number of fatalities has breached the one millionth mark.

Closing borders and imposing restrictions on movements are not an afterthought. These are measures that have been taken to fight an enemy against which we still do not have a solid defence.

While many countries have sounded pretty upbeat about their efforts to produce a viable vaccine, it is still anyone’s guess when that much-needed armour will actually become a reality.

There have been too many transmissions of the infection resulting from callous disregard for the steps we can take to protect ourselves and others.

Granted we cannot shut the windows, lock our doors and hide under the bed until the storm passes.

What will be left when we finally emerge from our hideout? There many not even be pieces to pick up.

There is a reason for relaxing some rules, chief of which is that we do not live through a health crisis only to be struck down by economic ruin.

It would be ideal if we can find a middle ground. It is not easy when one cannot attend to a close relative who is ill, or see a loved one off on his final journey.

Perhaps the powers-that-be could lay down some new rules to address such matters, of course with input from the health experts. Vijayendran’s case is not the first, nor will it be the last.

But most of all, don’t keep grieving families in the dark. That would be the cruellest blow of all.

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