THE Penang government will soon be carrying out the first phase of mass testing for some 40,000 people in the state in a move to break the chain of infection.
State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said this would involve the testing of 1,000 people in each of the 40 state constituencies.
He said the whole thing would cost about RM3mil and they would discuss the mechanism soon, like how to pick the persons to be tested, in a meeting today.
“While waiting for more vaccines to arrive, the state decided to take the initiative to conduct mass testing like what is being done in Selangor.
“This is on top of the ongoing on-site polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) screening initiative done together with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang, ” he said during a press conference at Kuantan Road Market on Saturday.
Some 400,000 factory workers in Penang are expected to take the RT-PCR test using the deep throat saliva method over the next few weeks.
On the recent announcement of the total lockdown effective tomorrow, Jagdeep said the situation was getting very serious and the state’s top priority was the health and well-being of the community.
“We have no choice but to be firm in this. I personally welcome the total lockdown.
“But the important thing to note during lockdown is that we will see a serious effect on the economy.
“Other than basic essential services, all other sectors will close. This means that we are seeing another MCO 1.0.
“As such, I urge the Federal Government to ensure that aid is disbursed to all the states.”
Jagdeep said during MCO 1.0, there was the RM250bil Prihatin economy package where RM128bil was allocated for welfare, RM100bil for businesses, RM2bil to strengthen the economy and RM20bil for various other phases.
“Under this package, each state government was given a RM130mil allocation.
“This time, we hope similar aid can be provided to all the states to handle the Covid-19 crisis.
“Such allocation is essential for us to help hawkers and small businesses affected by the pandemic.
“It can also help Covid-19 patients and their affected families, ” he said.