Is It Really Matters To Practice Social Distancing During COVID-19 Outbreak?

Answered by: Dr Mohd Ramzdhan Bin Mohd Masdar
Updated on: May 8, 2020

Question:
Greetings doctor! I have a question regarding the MCO implemented by the government due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19. I heard something regarding the curve that needs to be flattened in order for us to see the improvement in regards to how our country is doing currently with the disease. Could you please elaborate further on this issue? I mean, how can a graph helps in determining how well our country is doing currently with the pandemic. In addition to that, how can social distancing help combat this disease that has no exact cure for the time being?
Answer:
Good day, and thank you for the brilliant question. The Restriction Movement Order (RMO) or the Movement Control Order (MCO) are some of the methods implemented by the government to contain the transmission of the virus towards others who are free from the virus. This is basically to practice social distancing in a larger and bigger scale where it will involve more people in the country. The curve is to represent the number of cases detected in this country where the higher the number of cases will result in a steeper curve and the flattening of the curve gives a clue on a stagnant number or declining number of new cases in a daily basis. You may read more regarding this issue in the article below.

The Restriction Movement Order (RMO) is being implemented in order to contain and to combat the coronavirus, known as the COVID-19. You must be wondering why do we need to stay put at home? Is wearing a mask and washing our hands not enough to protect us?

During the period of this Restriction Movement Order (RMO), people may have heard regarding the term “social distancing”. All Malaysians have been recommended to enforce social distancing in order to prevent the disease from spreading to others. How does social distancing and restriction movement affect the COVID-19 outbreak?

Social distancing is a step that has to be implemented to contain an outbreak of a certain transmitted disease. This is because the risk of transmitting a disease is higher during a gathering. We cannot simply make a prediction and assume anyone is free from the disease as the infected person can be asymptomatic. In a gathering, the risk is higher as we cannot control people around us by asking them to stop sneezing or coughing hence making it a medium of spreading the infection.

So, it is very important for social distancing to be implemented and to be enforced by all people. In another word, please keep the distance between yourself with everyone else. The restriction movement order is another step implemented by the government to encourage people to make social distancing a success. That is why all the ceremonies and gatherings have been cancelled, restaurants stop operating, schools & universities have been closed, and many employees have been given days off or allowed to work from home.

These measurements are being done to ensure that there is no close contact between people either in schools, universities, restaurants and public transports. As there is no specific treatment yet found to treat this infection, at least we can help to reduce the number of individuals who have been infected by strictly abiding to social distancing.

If the social distancing has become successful, we can see the outcome and the result at the declining of the total number of new cases. That is why, we often heard and saw the campaign of #StayAtHome and #FlattenTheCurve. This “Flatten The Curve” tagline means to flatten the graph of the increasing number of cases of the COVID-19 infection.

  • Keep a distance with other people at public places. Make sure you are having a distance of at least 2 metre or 6 foot with other people.
  • Don’t go to crowded places like ceremonies, concerts, stadiums or to a shopping mall.
  • Don’t go to restaurants to eat. If necessary, parcel your food and bring it home.
  • Don’t go to a saloon or to a barbershop, spa and others because these kinds of services require you to be in a close distance with the service provider/ workers.
  • In the time being, you are advised not to visit your relatives or go to gatherings.
  • Don’t come to the old folks home or to a rehabilitation center because the residents of these institutions are prone to get infected and they can get serious complications from the virus. 
  • Always practice good hand hygiene if you are required to go to public places such as public transportation or a supermarket. Change your clothes and take a shower as soon as possible after coming back from those places.
  • Ensure to keep a good health while in the restriction movement order. Eat a balance and healthy food and don’t miss your exercise.
  • Take care of your mental health by doing the things that you like and contact your family and relatives through phone calls or video calls.
  • While in the restriction movement order, update yourself with the news and latest information regarding the COVID-19 and your surroundings.
  • If you are infected or having the symptoms, quarantine yourself from others by staying at home.

To do everything on the list is not an easy task. The current situation is not a norm and many people are affected by it. However, it is not an excuse for you to not to do it. If we want this infection to end sooner and to make things back to normal, then we have to face these difficulties with patience and work together to make it a successful effort. Let’s flatten the curve!



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