TWO weeks into the nationwide lockdown which began on June 1, Penangites appear to be staying home and adhering strictly to standard operating procedures (SOP) to flatten the Covid-19 curve.
The latest checks by The Star found many main roads on Penang island were mostly free of traffic.
There were noticeably more vacant parking lots in George Town, evidence that many were working from home.
Only handfuls of shoppers were seen at supermarkets while several food delivery riders were spotted picking up their orders for customers staying at home.
Karpal Singh Drive, which was usually packed with joggers, has gone quieter in the mornings.
On June 2, the National Security Council updated the SOP and allowed only jogging and exercising alone in one’s own neighbourhood.
The previous SOP allowed jogging and exercising alone within 10km from one’s home but authorities found people liked going to nearby scenic spots such as the Karpal Singh Drive promenade to run while enjoying the view of the sea.
In other states, police fined joggers for driving to other locations for runs.
Penang youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said those who were issued compounds for SOP violation could appeal to the Health Ministry for a 50% reduction of the fine if payment was made within seven days.
“The ministry will then decide on the appeal,” he said, adding that the public should exercise indoors for the time being.
Meanwhile, there was the usual long line of cars waiting at the roadblock along Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway heading to Penang Bridge as cops checked every vehicle for the necessary documents before allowing motorists to travel between districts.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan said the SOP compliance rate in the state had been 98% since the lockdown began.
“A total of 668 compounds have been issued.
“The common offences include not wearing face masks, not checking in with the MySejahtera app, gathering at crowded places and crossing states without permission.
“I urge everyone to stay at home. Don’t go out unless it is absolutely necessary.
“So far, we have carried out 107 spot checks in Penang.
“We are determined to take action against individuals who disobey the SOP.
“We have 650 personnel manning 46 roadblocks during the lockdown,” he said.