Malaysia says it has flattened the Covid-19 curve. But at what cost?

Malaysia appears to have flattened the Covid-19 curve ” but according to experts, the country is paying the cost in lost jobs, mental health issues and an upswing in economic woes.

(MSN News) – Until recently, the country was the worst hit by the disease in Southeast Asia, but officials said the national lockdown put in place on March 18 ” under which schools and non-essential businesses have been closed, and social gatherings prohibited ” had helped slow the spread of the disease.

Our country is entering the recovery phase Health director general Noor Hisham Abdullah “(The movement control order has) succeeded in flattening the curve and our country is entering the recovery phase,” said the nation’s health director general Noor Hisham Abdullah earlier this week, pointing out that daily increases in cases had remained in double digits since April 16.

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Malaysia has 6,002 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and has reported 102 deaths. Singapore now has the most cases in the region, with more than 16,000 infections, and has reported 14 deaths.

Although Malaysia’s lockdown is set to continue until May 12, with a further extension expected to prevent mass gatherings during Eid ul-Fitr celebrations at the end of the month, the fight against Covid-19 is taking a toll in other ways.

a close up of a person wearing a costume: A health worker waits to collect samples for coronavirus testing at a locked down wet market in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, after a trader there tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: AP© Provided by South China Morning Post A health worker waits to collect samples for coronavirus testing at a locked down wet market in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, after a trader there tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: AP

In a survey released on Thursday, think tank The Centre found that 50 per cent of respondents reported experiencing varying levels of negative mental well-being during the lockdown, with 22 per cent saying they were going through severe or extremely severe anxiety.

Women and those below the age of 35 reported higher levels of negative emotions, with up to 26 per cent of women saying they experienced severe and extremely severe depression, anxiety, and stress.

People living in low-cost housing also reported more extreme signs of all three conditions. “This highlights a need to review how low-cost housing is designed and built, to take into consideration mental health implications,” said The Centre in a statement.

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Although there is no set metric for what constitutes flattening the curve ” the term refers to slowing the rate of increase so as not to overburden the health care system ” Malaysia has done well in managing the virus outbreak, said Dr Helmy Haja Mydin of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, who specialises in respiratory diseases.

“Each country has its own metric, largely influenced by socioeconomic consequences as well,” he said. “For Malaysia, the numbers are a good snapshot of our progress but economic nuances must also be factored in.”

According to the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), the pandemic will have “devastating” effects on the Malaysian economy from external factors such as global supply and demand shocks as well as domestic factors such as the lockdown.

In a report, the local think tank said this would disproportionately impact small and medium-sized enterprises ” which make up more than 90 per cent of the nation’s economy ” and vulnerable groups such as lower-income individuals and workers.

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