MALAYSIA like many other Third World nations needs to make an honest re-take on the looming, indispensable social distancing imperative that will follow the lifting of the movement control order (MCO).
A two-metre radius that is characteristic of this social distancing will be at the core of the post-Covid-19 new normal.
The government needs to go beyond mere public statements to see through this social distancing that is destined to last all through 2020 and likely beyond as is being increasingly claimed by experts overseas.
How will public transport operate? How will eateries operate? How will business premises like banks and government counters operate?
Is is just all about drawing lines on the floor?
What about hotels and universities? How do you operate your classrooms, supermarkets and wet markets, production flows, hospitals and lifts and all others in terms of floor space and human traffic management?
Underlining this demand for the new normal is a fundamental cost and social factor.
How do you ensure that all businesses that have for decades been built around the number of persons per square footage to make economic sense out of this social distancing to break even?
Within our social, cultural and religious frameworks too how do we observe social distancing for weddings, funerals, events and celebrations?
Indeed even before we talk of lifting the MCO (in stages) have the government and private sectors convened to map out the requirements, the compliance and con-compliance to the categorical social distancing of a two-metre radius that will be needed to ward off or minimise the second and subsequent waves of likely infections?
Or do we continue to leave it to mere preaching and complaining while we are bound to struggle wastefully in the midst of economic and political failures?
It appears that without a fully functioning Parliament and a people endorsed government in place, Malaysians will have to brace for untold challenges.
J. D. Lovrenciear