Traveling from place to place is one of the most important activities in the day to day tasks and responsibilities. It is also a must especially during the school holidays to fill your time with interesting activities such as visiting your family and friends as well as recreational activities.
However, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, the government has implemented a Movement Control Order (MCO) aimed at curbing and severing the epidemic chain for all identified clusters. The question is do we still want to travel as usual? The answer may be “Don’t travel” or maybe “I still need to travel.”
Since the MCO’s instructions were announced by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, all people in the country have been advised to stay home and reduce their travel. This directive is the best way to break the COVID-19 chain to keep Malaysians safe from the virus.
The MCO directive indirectly provides a number of positive effects on the country including reducing the risk of people suffering from road crashes, as a result of reducing the number of vehicles used by individuals.
However, due to the demands of daily tasks and responsibilities, we still need to travel to continue living such as moving to get food and medical supplies. Likewise, workers need to move from their homes to their workplaces especially those involve in national frontiers and important industries such as the shipping and water services and electricity services industries. They need to operate as usual so that services are not interrupted to ensure that the lives of Malaysians during the MCO are not interrupted. So here are some tips to practice if you need to travel out of the house during this time.
1. Always check the vehicle is in good condition
Although during the MCO we are not encouraged to leave the house, it is important to keep the vehicle in good condition. This is because in case of emergency or travel needs to be made for a permitted purpose, a private vehicle is essential. If a vehicle suddenly breaks down, it will be difficult for the owner as not all vehicle repair services or auto parts shops are open during this time. So you can always turn on the engine to activate the battery and check the condition of the tire.
2. Plan your trip
Avoid going out during peak hours to reduce the risk of being in a crowded area. Peak time is a time when many people come out at the same time to complete their business. Avoiding peak hours not only shorten business hours but also reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
3. Avoid traveling if not required
There are many ways to avoid travel. In this era of technology, there are various online services offered such as internet banking services, food delivery services and online purchases. Using this online service will reduce the need to leave the house. Alternatively, you can still do your own business activities without having to go to business premises. Use your phone or computer with the internet to market your products as it saves you energy and time and is safer.
4. If you still need to travel, be safe
If you still have to travel, drive safely within the allowed speed limit and don’t forget to bring a face mask and hand sanitizer. If there is no disinfectant be sure to bring a bottle of water and soap to wash your hands after doing outdoor activities. Bringing water and soap is cheaper and more effective. You should also be aware of the instructions and guidelines of the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) who asked not to touch your face and eyes and keep your social distance with others.
5. Always obey the instructions of the MCO
The MCO directives stipulate that only one person can be in a private vehicle at a time. You are only allowed to travel within a radius of less than 10km during the MCO phase 2. If you use e-hailing or public transport services, always check your public transport itinerary to make your trip smoother and easier. Remember to bring along documents to support your travel to ensure you are not arrested and charged by the authorities and provide full cooperation to those in charge of public safety.
6. Minimize your time outside and come home immediately
Shorten the time to work outside and after returning from the trip, be sure to clean yourself and items you carry to keep you free of any germs and viruses. Bathing with soap is the best way.
Although during the MCO period travel is still allowed, it is best to sit at home and take care of yours and your family’s health. Stay where you are and don’t be selfish by going back home or anywhere for no good reason. Obey the government’s orders, we can break this pandemic chain.
Prof. Madya Dr. Munzilah Md Rohani & Muhammad Khairul Faiz bin Mat Zen
Pusat Pemanduan Bijak (SDRC), Fakulti Kejuruteraan Awam dan Alam Bina, UTHM