‘More proactive screenings needed’


Filepic of some foreign workers waiting for their Covid-19 screening at a construction site in Bayan Lepas, Penang. The mandatory rule for all foreign workers to take the test came into force on Dec 1 last year.

PENANG government is calling for foreign workers’ Covid-19 testing to be expedited as the percentage of those screened so far is low.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the compulsory screening of factory workers, both citizens and non-citizens, should be tightened so that contact tracing and treatment could be done to break the chain of Covid-19 infections in the state.

“Data from state Health Department shows that as of Jan 20, from the total of 128,889 foreign workers registered under Social Security Organisation (Socso) from Dec 7, only 19,792 were screened for Covid-19.

“During the same period, a total of 13,336 foreign workers were screened as a result of the employers’ own initiatives, bringing the total number of foreign workers screened to 33,128.

“The positivity rate is at 3.22%, ” he said in a statement on Saturday.

Chow said as such, the state government hopes that a more proactive action could be taken.

He said according to the same data, the percentage of Covid-19 cases among foreign workers by employment sectors showed that 49% were factory and industrial; 3% construction site workers and 30% from other sectors plus those unemployed.

He said Federal Government has the power during the Emergency to increase assets and manpower to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic effectively.

Meanwhile in Butterworth, 18 individuals including three women were slapped with fines of RM1,000 each for violating the movement control order (MCO) last Friday.

North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Noorzainy Mohd Noor said they were aged between 19 and 56.

“Among the offences committed were failure to check-in before entering premises, not having their temperatures taken before entering premises and failing to practise physical distancing rules.

“There were also some who attempted to cross district or state borders and gathered without valid reasons at public areas, ” he said.

ACP Noorzainy urged the public to adhere to standard operating procedures and stay home.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Soffian Santong said a total of six individuals were slapped with RM1,000 fines for violating the MCO.

ACP Soffian said the individuals, aged between 26 and 50, were fined for gathering in groups without valid reasons in Jalan Perak.

“Please stay at home and do not go out unnecessarily, ” he said.

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