Grab driver says traffic getting heavier, many ignoring MCO rules – do you want another month of lockdown?

While we don’t have an accurate way of measuring traffic in the days of the movement control order (MCO), from what’s being shared online, it appears that there have been more cars on the road of late, compared to when the MCO first started.

These pieces of circumstantial evidence from all over the Klang Valley, corroborated by some of our own observations when heading out for essentials, point to more people venturing out more often. It seems like a trend, perhaps because of cabin fever setting in, or the knowledge of “safe routes” without roadblocks.

Here’s a post from a Grab driver confirming that the traffic has indeed got heavier over the weeks (today is day 28 of the MCO, which started on March 18). His account includes the experience of being stuck in a roadblock traffic jam for two full hours. Why are there so many cars on the road? Everyone can’t be an essential services worker now, can they?

Here are the observations and photo evidence from Oneazam Mokhtar, posted on his Facebook page on April 11, and translated to English below. You can find the original Bahasa Malaysia text in his post embedded above.

“I’m a Grab driver. Almost everyday since the MCO started, I’ve been driving. At the start of the MCO, the roads were empty with very few cars. Those who were on the road then were riders from Foodpanda and GrabFood.

“But today (April 11) I am totally shocked. The amount of cars on the road is like a normal day, as if the MCO doesn’t exist. Everyone is going around doing their things as if nothing is wrong. I noticed that this started since yesterday, after the government announced that the MCO will be extended for another 14 days.

“And it’s not one person per car. I’ve seen so many cars with husbands and wives, and some have their whole families. There was even this woman who was next to me at the traffic lights – she had a baby in the front seat, OMG. She was playing with the baby with no fear.

“You want to know how many cars are on the road? Here’s an example. I was stuck in the roadblock in front of the EkoCheras Mall for two hours. I could have watched an entire Ahmad Albab movie on Youtube and still be stuck there. That’s just how terrible the situation is.

“If this is our attitude towards the MCO, to think that the MCO will be extended till Raya is an understatement. I beg all of you – please stay at home, I want my normal life back!”

Even though thankfully, Malaysian’s Covid-19 trendline has not seen an exponential increase such as those seen in Italy, Spain and now the US – meaning we’re doing a decent job at flattening the curve – the cases keep on coming as known clusters grow in generation and new ones emerge. There have also been sporadic cases where the source of infection cannot be traced.

In today’s press briefing, health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed that Malaysia recorded 170 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total number in the country to 4,987. Of the nearly 5k total, 82 have died, with five new deaths added to the tally today. Clearly, we are not out of the woods and the coronavirus is out there, spreading.

Yes, the MCO has caused some difficulty (to put it very lightly), whether is it for businesses or the individual. Being confined within four walls for so long isn’t easy, whether you’re trying to balance work and family duties (with all the kids at home) or if you’re a single person trying to stay sane.

But staying at home for all but the most necessary of trips out for essentials is the only way to break the coronavirus’ chain of transmission. Already, the MCO has been extended two times – phase three starts tomorrow and will be in place till April 28. Do you want to be locked up for another month?

I’m guessing no, because it’ll be incredibly tough on both the financial health of businesses (which in the end, will impact all of us) and the mental health of us all. But if things go south, the government’s hand might be forced – let’s not let it come to that.

So, let’s hunker down and get this over and done with. Let’s make our MCO sacrifices worthwhile and not throw away the gains because of impatience. Kita jaga kita starts with staying at home and following the rules. Besides, you don’t want to risk the stiffer enforcement and penalties that will kick in from tomorrow.

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