Covid-19 case in Penang rises to seven in a week


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 14 Mar 2020

GEORGE TOWN: Penang's Covid-19 case rose from one to seven in less than a week, and there are signs that more cases are being found.

Emails and announcements from multinational corporations that were made public show that MNCs are on high alert, after several of their employees were found to have been potentially exposed to Covid-19.

B. Braun Medical Industries Sdn Bhd issued a statement that two employees could possibly be exposed to Covid-19 after attending a public event. The company said although both the employees had yet to show symptoms, they have been quarantined and are under close observation.

Another MNC, Infineon Technology Sdn Bhd, said three of its employees were identified as suspected Covid-19 cases.

According to the company's statement, they were in a cluster of about 16,000 people who attended a large religious gathering in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, between Feb 27 and March 3.

"Our colleagues have consulted medical officials and they have been given a stay-at-home notice and they are now awaiting their test results," the statement added.

State Health Department director Dr Asmayani Khalib could not be reached for confirmation.

The first Covid-19 patient in Penang, confirmed last Monday (March 9), was an engineer of Motorola Solutions Penang, who contracted it after spending a week in Kuala Lumpur. After he was diagnosed, the MNC ordered the entire workforce to go home and quarantine themselves.

Two more MNCs, Keysight Technologies and Agilent Technologies, also shut down their plants and told their employees to work from home, after one of them was found to be in close contact of the Motorola engineer.

On Friday (March 13) evening, Health Ministry released the latest data on confirmed Covid-19 cases in each state and Penang now has seven.

Of these, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, in a press conference on Friday, said five of them had caught the virus after attending the Sri Petaling religious gathering.

"The state is also urging all individuals who were at that gathering to act responsibly and refer themselves to the state Health Department for further action.

"I also urge and advise all organisers of programmes and activities, especially those under the state government, to postpone or cancel such programmes to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Chow urged Penangites to follow the advice of Health Ministry by avoiding mass gatherings, especially if they themselves feel unwell.

Chow has also temporarily barred all civil servants in the state government's civil service from travelling overseas until the spread of the virus had eased. He said those who want accurate information on Covid-19 could contact the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre or email to epid_penang@moh.gov.my or call 04-2629902.

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