Busting viral threats

  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 19 Mar 2020

Chow (left) launching the campaign together with (from right) Ashwin, Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang Chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim and Yeoh.

THE Penang government has launched the ‘Penang Lawan Covid-19’ campaign to combat the outbreak and ensure the delivery of accurate information to the people.

Following a rise in reported cases by the Health Ministry, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said it was vital to curb the spread of inaccurate news and information which could induce panic and confusion among the public.

“Under this campaign, the state is taking a few drastic measures to ensure the safety of all Penangites.

“All state programmes and those by private organisations involving public gatherings have to be cancelled as directed by the Health Ministry.

“All state agencies, private premises and education institutions have to conduct body temperature screenings on all individuals who want to enter their premises.

“These agencies and institutions are also required to prepare hand sanitisers, and their workers are urged to practise social distancing.

Long queues of shoppers rushing to buy groceries at a hypermarket in Bayan Baru on Tuesday.Long queues of shoppers rushing to buy groceries at a hypermarket in Bayan Baru on Tuesday.

“All civil and private sector workers at the agencies who display symptoms of Covid-19 will also be asked to take days off, ” he said during a press conference at Komtar on Monday.

Chow said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) were also ordered to ensure all business premises and hawker centres adhere to the guidelines under the campaign.

He said for information pertaining to Covid-19, the public could visit the official Facebook page ‘Penang Lawan Covid-19’ campaign under https://www.facebook.com/ilovpg.

He added that the public could also contact the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) or the state Health Department through email at epid_penang@moh.gov.my or phone call at 04-262 9902.

Penang tourism, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, who was also present, stressed that all communities should take necessary precautions and discourage group meetings to prevent the spread of the disease.

“It is everyone’s responsibility and civic duty to play a role and be vigilant in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

“I strongly advise everyone to consider postponing all gatherings and business conferences until the situation is under control.

Customers ordering and having their meals as usual at a crowded food court near the Komtar bus interchange on Monday. — Photos: K.T. GOH and MUSTAFA AHMAD/The StarCustomers ordering and having their meals as usual at a crowded food court near the Komtar bus interchange on Monday. — Photos: K.T. GOH and MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star

“We understand the difficulties, as Penang is one of the preferred destinations for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).

“But the people’s wellbeing and health should be a priority above all. I urge organisers to defer their events until the situation improves.

“This applies to all of us in the tourism and business sectors, ” he said.

Yeoh said it was not advisable for those who feel unwell to attend any activities or meetings.

“Seek medical attention immediately and practise self-quarantine if necessary.

“For those returning to Penang from holidays or business trips, please follow the social distancing guidelines and self-quarantine for 14 days.

“Keep a close eye on your own health condition, ” he said.

Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekaran said they would like to advise all business organisers to postpone their events in view of the global pandemic.

“If organisers of smaller business events wish to continue with their programmes, we urge you to consider migrating your events online.

“With 428 confirmed cases in Malaysia as of Sunday, we must put the safety and wellbeing of the general public at the top of our priority list.

“As the situation develops, we urge organisers to continue consulting with us.

“PCEB is here to help during this trying time and we are confident that you will be able to put on your event in Penang once the situation stabilises, ” he said.

Ashwin said many events had been postponed but not cancelled.

“There are events which are cancelled but the number of postponements is higher than the number of cancellations, ” he added.

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