PENANGITES were stunned when a notice began spreading on WhatsApp that a new Covid-19 case was found in Bayan Baru.
The screenshot of a notice, purportedly by Suntech@Penang Cybercity, announced that one of its tenants was tested positive on Tuesday.
Although it was addressed to other tenants in the building with a reminder to diligently practise all precautions, the notice inevitably spread among the general population.
More messages were forwarded widely, offering unverifiable details such as how the ‘tenant’ was from Teluk Kumbar.
The Health director-general’s daily update showed that Penang had no new cases as of noon on Tuesday.
However, the state Health Department released an infographic showing that of the four new cases in Penang yesterday, one was in George Town and three were in the Teluk Kumbar area.
All the four new cases were from the Tawar cluster that first emerged in Kedah.
It is best that the public refrain from announcing new Covid-19 cases, advised Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
“There are pros and cons to such notices. One pro is to inform people about cases so that they are aware.
“But such notices, which are usually not confirmed, will create a panic situation.
“It is best that people rely on the daily announcements from the Health Ministry, ” he said.
Chow said sometimes, the “new case” could be just a contact tracing procedure, which can eventually be a negative case.
On Monday, folk in Taman Tun Sardon shared photos of an ambulance arriving in their neighbourhood to take a patient.
After an initial fright that a Covid-19 case was found in their midst, state health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin told reporters that the patient was actually suffering from chikungunya instead.
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