When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government would be imposing a Movement Control Order on 16 March, many honestly had no clue exactly what it meant.
Tons of messages and posts on social media repeatedly used the word 'lockdown'.
But is the Movement Control Order a lockdown? Why is everyone telling us to stay put and what in the world is social distancing?
We try to explain it all here.
What's a Movement Control Order?
So firstly, let's understand the Moverment Control Order.
An order here refers to a ruling, decision, decree, mandate, etc. under the supervision of a governmental authority.
The Movement Control Order, in this case, is a ruling made by the government under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.
Many news organisations especially the foreign ones termed the MCO (we've abbreviated Movement Control Order to MCO for easier reference) as a partial lockdown and here's why.
*bars Malaysians from exiting the country
*bars tourists from entering the country
*orders private and public offices (except essential services) to close
*orders all educational institutions (from kindies to universities) to close
*bars all types of public gatherings
*requires all retail outlets except those providing essential items to close.
*(They also later announced restrictions on movements between states on 17 March but had issues implementing it. This one must tunggu updates)
"Sounds pretty much like a lockdown to me!" tweets one concerned netizen following the announcement and he's kinda right - KINDA.
The main difference between the MCO and an actual lockdown is that there is no curfew, no total prohibition from leaving your homes, no total shutdown of all shops, no total shutdown of all roads - basically measures are not as extreme lah.
Are we the only ones imposing such measures, though?
While some may feel like the move by the government was slightly rushed, other countries around the world have been imposing partial or total lockdowns for some time now.
According to Business Insider, countries such as Italy, China, El Salvador, New Zealand, Poland, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, and France have implemented 'the most restrictive mass quarantines' locally in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19.
Initiatives include directing millions of residents to strictly stay at home with some countries even threatening legal punishment for those who refuse to listen.
Restrictions (some strict, some not so strict) have also been imposed in Russia, Norway, Australia, Germany, Canada, Peru, Morocco, Kenya, Puerto Rico, the Czech Republic and more.
More and more countries keep annoucing lockdowns on a daily basis.
So why is the whole world doing this?
The short answer would be to put a huge a** full-stop to the rapid spread of COVID-19.
You would have heard many reports mention 'social distancing' by now and efforts like the MCO, lockdowns, partial lockdowns and mass quarantines and other related restrictions basically all aim to force society to practice social distancing.
Why social distancing lah? Well, it's essential because of how COVID-19 spreads.
The virus spreads through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets then enter the system of a healthy person through the eyes, nose and mouth which leads directly to your throat and lungs. Ewwww!
Social distancing is the most effective way to keep the number of people with COVID-19 at bay.
What means you, you say? Welllllll.....
Smaller number of patients = better care at medical institutions.
People get sick, people get attended to and people get better.
COVID-19 doesn't spread. Yeay!
A sudden rise in patient numbers = overflowing hospitals, not enough equipment or medical staff to cope and therefore increase in number of COVID-19 patients. Booo!
How can you play a part in battling COVID-19
What you can actually do is listen to the authorities.
If they say, try to stay at home as much as possible, do it!
Don't go traipsing all over the countryside (We're talking to all of you who tried to balik kampung last night) or plan a Cuti-Cuti Malaysia. It's really not the time, bro!
When they say avoid social gatherings, listen!
Don't organise a secret garden wedding or hangout session with friends.
When they tell sick people to stay at home, listen!
Don't go to your office with the sniffles or with a cough. You may not have COVID-19, but your immune system is not at its best. You're more susceptible to contracting it and getting your colleagues sick as well!
When they tell you to wash your hands and practice good sneeze and cough etiquette, do it!
Don't surprise cough/sneeze on your friend's face and say sorry. SORRY NO CURE (literally) in this case, bro!
In short, just listen to the instructions and follow it to the T.
If we all cooperate, be considerate and refrain from panicking, we can all help bring the numbers down and get this mother-of-a-virus out of our lives.
Still tak faham? Let Cap and gang explain.
Now, you have the knowledge, put it to good use ya, guys.
Stay safe and be healthy! Together, we can put an end to this virus.