As per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the NSC, alcohol is classified as a “non-essential” item. Malaysia has entered a two-week lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time period alcohol sale is banned. Shops which only sell alcohol will also have to be closed during this lockdown.
This measure by the Malaysian government is in line with latest evidence and WHO guidance. A groundbreaking report revealed the lethal interaction alcohol has with the ongoing pandemic.
- Alcohol increases the health and societal problems arising from the pandemic. For example, alcohol weakens the immune system and makes people more susceptible to infections. And alcohol-centric social contexts have been COVID-19 super spreader events.
- Alcohol increases the burden on healthcare and emergency services which are already stretched due to the COVID-19.
- The alcohol industry exploits the pandemic to change alcohol laws to their private benefit.
Early on in the pandemic the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended reducing alcohol availability to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce potentially severe complications of the virus. A WHO FAQ also covered alcohol’s negative effects linked with the COVID-19 pandemic.