On May 4, the Malaysian government announced that the Movement Control Order (MCO) which was in place for close to two months would be loosened.
With the conditional MCO (CMCO) extended to June 9, several sectors have been allowed to operate as Malaysia claimed to have flattened the coronavirus curve.
While people are allowed to visit their friends and family, only not in large numbers, the only restriction currently in place is the inability for interstate travel.
Due to this, many Malaysians who have been cooped up at home since March 18, 2020, have begun exercising outdoors.
But here’s why you might wanna rethink this.
Virologist Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said if you’ve been planning to jog outdoors, you’ll need to postpone this until your zone has been marked green for more than six weeks.
“This is because we don’t know what the transmission rates are in zones outside the areas placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order, as we are doing targeted testing instead of mass testing,” he said to the New Straits Times.
Dr Sazaly, who is Universiti Malaya’s Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Centre director, echoed expert opinions from other nations on lockdown on the risks of exercising outdoors during the pandemic.
“Asymptomatic or presymptomatic people may be sharing the parks or jogging lanes with others.”
Social distancing measures are still in place.
Despite loosening its MCO, the Malaysian government has reminded people to practice social distancing.
According to Dr Sazaly, people should practice social distancing of more than 2 meters.
“Those who want to exercise must choose a time when no one is at the park and that can be difficult if you don’t live in a gated community.
“There will be people with children and dogs, as well as those who stop to rest when exercising. Wearing face masks while running is not convenient for breathing.
“So if you can help it, stay home and adopt home routines by watching YouTube videos.”
Lack of research.
There’s also another reason why Dr Sazaly prefers people exercising at home.
Since the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a new discovery, there’s a lack of data on whether the virus can transmit from bodily fluids.
If people were to visit gyms, there’s a possibility that the virus can survive on equipment through micro-droplets.
Worse, areas that are cool ensure a more conducive environment for the virus’ survival.
“If you really need to run outside, do so when there is no one around and make sure you don’t touch any surface. Do not go to gyms, toilets at parks or public facilities because confined spaces and the lack of ventilation are ideal for the virus to thrive,” he said.
He added that the Malaysian government should only allow gyms to reopen after thorough checks have been done to ensure that equipment are free from the virus.
While Malaysians have been allowed to jog and exercise outdoors, contact sports, indoor activities, swimming, and group sports that involve more than 10 people are still banned.
If you are thinking of going out for a jog, try a park that is less crowded. Stay safe!