Penang prepares for mass screening


Residents at a Covid-19 hotspot area undergoing screening for the virus during an earlier outbreak in Relau, Penang. — Filepic

THE mass testing programme to pick and test 1,000 individuals at each state constituency in Penang is expected to begin on July 1 after the method is finalised.

State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the mass testing will be carried out across 40 state constituencies where 1,000 people from each constituency will be picked for the testing.

The programme involves the stages of registration, testing operations and post testing.

“One of our moves under the programme is prioritising testing at hotspot areas.

“The state Health Department suggested that we prioritise the hotspot areas so we will consider redeploying numbers from constituencies with no hotspot areas to areas that do.

“This is to identify, isolate and control the Covid-19 pandemic in the state,” he said during a press conference at Komtar yesterday.

Besides prioritising hotspot areas, they will also focus on testing people who are at risk, especially within hotspots areas.

“There are eight categories for individuals at risk who will be eligible for testing.”

One of the categories includes individuals at risk like senior citizens, pregnant women and children.

The other categories are transport provider workers, essentials and services providers, hawkers and traders, those registered with MySejahtera, those living in hotspot areas, heads of families who live within target clusters and individuals registered as food or goods deliverers.

“Besides the categories mentioned, individuals suggested to be tested in each state constituency will also be given priority.

Jagdeep (right) monitoring Covid-19 screening process for foreign workers at a construction site in Penang. — FilepicJagdeep (right) monitoring Covid-19 screening process for foreign workers at a construction site in Penang. — Filepic

“At this stage, the testing method is being finalised and the State Secretary’s office is in the appointment process of deciding who to conduct the programme.

“We hope to finalise everything by the end of this month and hopefully we can begin testing on July 1.

“Then, depending on capacity and logistics, we hope to complete the entire programme in between 30 and 40 days.”

Jagdeep said the testing programme is crucial as a preventive measure while the state continues vaccinations.

“Right now, the state is taking steps to ensure more vaccination centres are set up as we aim to vaccinate 20,000 people a day.

“We are always ready to expedite the vaccination process. But many have not registered for the vaccines yet.

“In Penang, we need 80% of the population to be vaccinated, that is 1.34 million people out of the 1.8 million population.

“For now, we have some 900,000 who registered so we hope another 400,000 people will come forth and register for vaccination,” he added.

Meanwhile, on housing matters, Jagdeep said the state is committed to ensuring that the housing sector continues to move.

“It is important to assist the housing chain as many people are involved when we approve projects.”

He said up to yesterday, the state approved 283 applications involving 473 various works to be carried out under the state’s Housing Maintenance Maximum 80% Fund.

“A total of RM45.2mil was spent here where most of the projects involved were lift and water tank upgrades and replacements.

“Other works included upgrading or replacement works involving roofs, tar roads, walls, railings, piping and repainting works.”

He added that up to June 16, the state spent a total of RM276mil on repair and maintenance projects involving public and private housing schemes in the state.

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