Virus looms large in Penang


PENANG’S Covid-19 infectivity or R0 stood at 1.01 on the last day of February, compared with the national average R0 of 0.91, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

R0 – pronounced R-naught – is an indicator showing how contagious a disease is.

Chow said in the final week of February, between Feb 21 and 27, Penang saw 922 new cases.

Out of this, 574 cases (62.25%) were locals and 348 (37.74%) comprised foreigners.

“A total of 16,180 Covid-19 tests were done throughout that week by various health facilities under the supervision of state Health Department.

“The majority of screenings were focused on close contacts of positive patients, screening at workplaces in factories as well as construction sites, and symptomatic screenings.

“For the screening of foreigners either registered under Socso’s Prihatin Screening Programme or under employers’ initiatives in manufacturing and construction, the state Health Department reported that as of Feb 28,68,939 people had undergone screening and 2,435 positive cases were detected, ” he said in a statement after attending a National Security Council (NSC) virtual meeting on the management of Covid-19 chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday.

Chow added that the current approach was aspect-based public health as well as vaccinations.

“The Health Ministry as well as Energy, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry are urged to continue to move in tandem with the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), which was specially established at the state level.

“In Penang, phase one of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme has been running smoothly in every district.

“Our frontliners will always remain the priority as a commitment and principle held by the state government over the years.

“Let us all together make the vaccination programme a success, which is important to revive the growth of the economy in the state, ” he said.

Chow said in the NSC meeting, the technical committee was asked to examine the standard operating procedures of the tourism sector.

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