Relieved to be Covid-free

The pupils accompanied by their parents waiting for the removal of their pink quarantine wristbands at Dewan Bukit Belah in Teluk Kumbar, Penang. — LO TERN CHERN/The Star

ALL 22 pupils of a kindergarten in Sungai Ara, Penang, who were ordered to undergo Covid-19 tests after a teacher tested positive for the coronavirus, have been cleared of the infection risk.

Their parents, who accompanied the children to have their pink quarantine wristbands removed at Dewan Bukit Belah in Teluk Kumbar after wearing them for two days, breathed a sigh of relief now that they can resume their normal lives.

Technical consultant Alan Khoo, 42, whose five-year-old girl is enrolled in the kindergarten, said he was grateful for the quick response from the management to contain the spread of the virus.

“I was shocked and surprised when informed that a teacher had tested positive and the first thing I did was to conduct a Covid-19 self-test on my daughter and the result came out negative.

“The next day, Health Ministry officials arranged for her to undergo the Reverse Transcrip-tion Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test and results confirmed that she and all the others are indeed negative for Covid-19.“I’m glad that the school responded quickly by taking necessary steps and following strict standard operating procedure (SOP) to prevent any spread.

The pupils and teachers holding up their arms after their wristbands have been removed. The pupils and teachers holding up their arms after their wristbands have been removed.

“It was a situation which neither parties would wish to happen and cooperation was good to stop the threat,” he said at the hall yesterday.

Engineer Lim Kheng Wooi, 38, also agreed that the kindergarten did its best in tackling the crisis and was happy that his five-year-old son is safe.

“I undergo self-tests every week in a factory and understand how crucial it is for early detection.

“In two years of operation since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, this is the first case recorded in the nursery and it was handled well.

“Children have been strict in SOP compliance, even more than adults, thanks to education,” he said.

The kindergarten’s representative Grace Ng said the school had acted promptly and reduced risk to minimal to safeguard its over 90 pupils in total.

The pupils queueing to get their wristbands snipped off.The pupils queueing to get their wristbands snipped off.

She said the teacher who tested positive had been isolated since the end of last year.

“The teacher was in close contact with a relative on Dec 25 last year and had tested negative in two separate self-tests conducted on Dec 27 and 28.

“On Dec 29, she was informed that the relative she visited had tested positive and immediately took leave from work.

“On Dec 31, she started showing symptoms and we immediately took action.

“Besides all 22 pupils, the other 12 teachers and three staff members have also tested negative,” she said.

Ng said the school would be sanitised and it would reopen on Monday.

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