Two sectors record the most cases


Personnel from APM (in blue) and Rela (green) making sure that SOPs are adhered to at the Jelutong Road Market in Penang. — Photos: K.T. GOH/The Star

PENANG recorded a total of 912 Covid-19 cases since last week with 624 cases (68.4%) involving locals and the other 288 (31.6%) were foreigners.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the large number of cases came from new clusters detected in the manufacturing and construction sectors, namely the Mayang Pasir, Beringin and Valdor clusters.

He said there were also cases reported at the Seberang Prai prison, workplaces, close contacts, among others.

“It is important to collect data to determine the focus and necessary action needed for the next stage.

“According to the Health Ministry’s data recorded until Feb 7, we are facing a third wave of the pandemic with 472 clusters reported in workplaces compared to only 25 during the second wave.

“For the third wave, the manufacturing sector recorded the highest number of cases followed by services and construction sectors.

“Therefore, besides strengthening law enforcement, the screening process needs to be intensified as well, be it under the Covid-19 screening programme of the Social Security Organisation (Socso) or the employers’ own initiative, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

Chow said a majority of screenings were concentrated on close contacts of positive cases, workplace at industrial factories as well as construction sites.

He said according to Penang Health Department, a total of 49,681 foreign workers had undergone screening as of Feb 7.

“The Government should also pay attention to employers who pay for the screening test of their foreign workers, as the trend has shown a decline.

“This might be due to some problems faced by the employers, including the cost constraints as well as not being able to provide quarantine stations for screenings.

“We have also set up 27 Covid-19 Assessment Centres (CAC) in all five districts in the state for those undergoing self-quarantine at homes, including drive through services.

“The public can contact the CAC in their areas, and all related information can be assessed through the state Health Department and Penang Lawan Covid-19 Facebook page, ” he said.

Chow said the state government was grateful for the RM2mil approved by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) in relation to Penang’s application for the opening of a low risk Covid-19 centre at Mara Excellence Centre in Jawi.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Civil Defence Force (AMP) Penang director Kol (PA) Ishak Mohd Radzi said the force had set up 12 Civil Defence Emergency Response Teams (CDERT), each with a minimum of 30 members consisting APM personnel and the public.

“Besides APM personnel, CDERT will also involve members of other local agencies such as Rela, resident associations, house of worship committee members and non-governmental organisations.

“Other than enforcement operations, CDERT members will provide first aid if there are any disasters or emergencies.

“As CDERT involves community engagement, members staying nearby will reach the scene faster when there is an emergency.

“CDERT members are also Covid-19 exterminator agents who focus on markets and red zones.

“Our aim is to see red zones turn to orange, yellow and becoming green again in the end.

“We will continue until the virus is contained.

“We are adopting the bottom-to-top approach whereby the local communities are involved in battling Covid-19, ” he said after a walkabout at the Perak Road Market yesterday.

Together with Rela and Penang Information Department personnel, they also went to three other markets in Kuantan Road, Jelutong and Taman Free School on the island.

He added that there are 366 APM personnel in Penang.

“Besides our daily tasks, we also help out at the quarantine centres and roadblocks to ensure that SOPs are adhered to, ” he said.

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