When the authorities first announced that the country would be implementing movement restrictions, I was relieved because the number of daily new COVID-19 cases was on an upward trajectory. A more restrictive measure, such as Operasi Pulih, was sorely needed to curb the virus spread.
However, judging from the first few days, what has shocked me is how many people continue to ignore health directives. It is clearly stated that other than essential workers with proper documentation, no one is allowed to leave home after 8pm. Instead, there have been dozens of people getting caught violating the protocol.
Until the authorities release the statistics, I can only venture a guess that the majority of violators are young and restless. Due to the restrictions implemented in this second wave, they are looking for thrills with no regards for health and safety.
Perhaps the authorities should consider increasing the fine from the current BND100 to BND500, to drive home the message that Operasi Pulih ought to be taken seriously. While most people understand the severity of the outbreak, I believe there are a fair number who remain oblivious to the bigger picture.
We cannot afford for the outbreak to drag on much longer. The pandemic has already done a number on businesses, as well as mental well-being of the population. We simply don’t have the luxury to “educate” these irresponsible people until they understand what the authorities are hoping to achieve here. Thus, a hefty fine may well be the only way to keep them at home with the rest of us.