Short-term pain for long-term gain, Dr Mahathir tells Covid-19 lockdown naysayers in Western countries

John Bunyan
The former prime minister pointed out that people in countries like the United States still want their freedom during the pandemic, which can increase the virus’ spread and bring harm to others. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said that people in Western countries should be more civic-minded and think about others during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The former prime minister pointed out that people in countries like the United States still want their freedom during the pandemic, which can increase the virus’ spread and bring harm to others.

“Fortunately, people in eastern and Asian countries like Malaysia have great discipline as they obey the government. What the government tells us to do is for our own good.

“But western countries, where people are very keen on freedom, they want to be free and do not want to obey their government. They even have demonstrations against the lockdown,” he said during an interview broadcast “live” from the Malaysian Junior Club via Facebook.

He observed that more people are infected with Covid-19 in the US and Brazil now.

“The US has more than 100,000 deaths, with over a million more infected.

“And Brazil, of course, the president doesn’t want people to stop working, because work drives the economy and when they don’t work, the economy won’t grow.

“Yes, we have to work and think about the economy, but at the same time, we have to be very careful about not getting infected. They should follow the movement control order so that they can still contribute to the economy without spreading the virus,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said, as a trained doctor, he felt the Covid-19 pandemic was inevitable because cold and flu viruses can be easily transmitted from human to human.

“This is something that was bound to happen someday. This is because when the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic first occurred in China, as a doctor, I knew the behaviour of such viruses. They can infect many people.

“And in the case of a very active virus, I know that even though it comes from animals, it can infect many people,” he said.

“At first, I felt this may not spread beyond China, but now it has spread throughout the world. This is something that can happen with viruses. They can be transmitted to other people very quickly,” he added.

The former prime minister also said that viruses can only be stopped by vaccines and quarantine is the only measure that can prevent them from spreading.

“This is why we have to be confined in our houses. However, staying away from people is only a preventive measure until we find a vaccine.

“When they asked me to self-quarantine previously, I realised quickly that the quarantine will not last for 14 days. We have to be quarantined until today,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also advised people to limit meeting people and going out shopping.

“We have to avoid crowded places because the virus can easily spread to other people and people who are above 60-years-old should be extra careful,” he said.

Related Articles China plans to extend curbs on international flights until June 30, says US embassy Malaysia’s Statistics Department foresees recession in the next four to six months Japan’s low unemployment rate conceals deeper labour market pain