Prepare to fend off Covid-19

Some of the athletes and members of the public donning face masks during the Covid-19 briefing.

MALAYSIA is doing all the right things to face the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the Penang Health Department.

Its senior principal assistant director (surveillance) Dr Chow Sze Loon said the country was ranked third in Asia in terms of its readiness against the disease outbreaks.

He said this was based on a study by the Global Health Security Index last year, with Thailand and South Korea occupying the top two spots.

“Out of 195 countries, Malaysia is ranked 18 with an index score of 62.2 for its ability to respond to an epidemic or pandemic last year, ” he said in his ‘Overview and Updates on Covid-19’ talk attended by some 400 people at the Han Chiang High School hall in Jalan Lim Lean Teng on Saturday.

In the Global Health Security Index, countries were rated between 0 and 100 marks based on their overall health system, compliance with international norms and risk management, and capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to an epidemic.

Dr Chow said although there were a number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, the situation was under control.

“Although there are no Covid-19 cases in Penang, we would like to remind the public that personal hygiene is important in this period of time.

“Only travellers coming from affected countries (China, South Korea, Japan, Italy or Iran) who develop fever or respiratory symptoms within two weeks of arrival are advised to get proper Covid-19 check-ups at the screening hospitals.

“They are Penang Hospital, Kepala Batas Hospital, Seberang Jaya Hospital and Bukit Mertajam Hospital.

“But if it comes to a time where a case requires isolation, this will only be available at Penang Hospital, ” he said.

The talk was attended by Penang athletes and opened to the public aimed at increasing awareness on Covid-19.

During the talk, Dr Chow also urged the public to contact the health authorities if they had any questions on Covid-19.

“We have hotline numbers and dedicated personnel to answer questions related to the disease.

“We hope the public would cooperate and call these hotlines instead of other general lines.”

The public may contact the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) in Komtar at 04-261 2533 or visit the centre on the 37th floor from 8am to 10pm.

The public may also contact the national CPRC hotline at 03-8881 0200,03-8881 0600,03-8881 0700 or email to

Dr Chow said there were countries with significant uptick of the disease, namely China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy.

State youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said many countries have felt the impact on their economy and tourism sectors since the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Our Health Ministry has also spent some RM150mil to control the outbreak.

“Although the outbreak in Malaysia is under control, we have to take proactive steps to prevent this virus.

“As such, we are organising this talk, especially for our athletes to increase their awareness and help them understand Covid-19.

“We hope that with this talk today, they will pay proper attention to their own hygiene and ensure that their health stay great.

“As Sukma 2020 is approaching and the event is not scheduled for postponement, we will send our athletes to Johor this July to compete.

“We hope our athletes can learn something and follow the guidelines in taking care of their hygiene, ” he said.

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