Time to embrace the new normal

I would like to write in response to a frontpage news item regarding a new cluster detected in the neighbouring Malaysian state of Sabah on September 21.

As a Bruneian, I’m grateful that our government has been quick in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Judging from the countless countries that are struggling with a large number of new coronavirus cases daily, I believe the travel restrictions are a small price to pay to allow us to enjoy life without too much disruption.

However, we are living in the new normal, whether or not we can accept it. There are people who have expressed eagerness over the day that the borders re-open, so they could resume overseas travel again.

As much as I have faith in science and the headway that a number of pharmaceutical companies have made, I don’t see life going back the pre-COVID-19 anytime soon.

Even if a vaccine were made available tomorrow, it would most likely go to the policymakers, medical frontliners and the vulnerable.

Therefore, I would like to call on businesses, especially supermarkets, to focus instead on incorporating the health guidelines into their operations.

Paywave is there to be used. Instead of relying on staff to handle the transactions, perhaps have the ATM card machine set up closer to the customers, so they could wave the card themselves. Even better if we could set up self-service kiosks for the more technologically savvy, to do away with physical contacts altogether.

I believe there is an urgent need to rethink and reshape the immediate future to fit into the COVID-19 era.

As countries brace for the second or third wave, we as Bruneians should do our part by adapting to the new normal as best as we can.

A Local Observer