6,700 foreign workers in Penang screened so far


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Big number: Workers at a construction site in Sungai Pinang, Penang. There are 14,436 foreign construction workers in the state.

GEORGE TOWN: Nearly 7,000 foreign construction workers here have been tested for Covid-19 but the question remains on how the screening could help contain the spread of the virus.

Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said it was difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the screening as most of these foreign workers were staying together with their counterparts working in other sectors.

“The companies will have to ensure that the movement of the workers at the centralised labour quarters (CLQ) are closely monitored. Otherwise, their entire operations would be in jeopardy if anyone is infected, ” he said yesterday.

Yew added that it would be difficult for the government to monitor foreign workers staying outside the CLQ.

On May 14, Penang began mass Covid-19 screening of foreign workers, with a target of screening all 51,208 registered within a month at the screening site at Padang Polo.

There are 14,436 foreign construction workers and 36,772 foreign manufacturing workers in the state.

State Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said 6,795 workers had been screened as of May 21, with all tested negative.

He said the state was expected to complete the Covid-19 screening of 11,861 foreign construction workers this week.

“The best way is to screen them every two weeks, but for now, it’s a compulsory measure that we complete the first layer of the process, ” he said.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Penang chairman Datuk Toh Chin Leong said the association and Penang Master Builders Association had completed the screening process of workers of their members.

“The remaining workers are from individual construction companies that are not members of both associations, ” he said.

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