Penang mainland mass screening off to a great start

Not taking any chances: Charles, Selvamary and their children waiting to get tested in Seberang Jaya. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

BUTTERWORTH: Concerned for his family, an accountant brought his two sons and wife to the Sony Sports and Recreation Complex in Seberang Jaya to get their swab tests done.

V. Charles, 39, said he did not want to take any risk as he and his family live in a hotspot area in Taman Chai Leng.

“Both my wife and I are always working. I think it is better for us to take all the necessary precautions, ” he added.

Charles said another reason that he had brought his family for the Penang Covid-19 Screening (PSC-19) was because his four-year-old son’s babysitter was recently identified as a close contact.

He is thankful that the Penang government has provided the free service, adding that the programme was timely as the number of Covid-19 cases had shown a rapid increase in the past few weeks.

His wife L. Selvamary, 37, said the mass screening was carried out smoothly and it took them less than half an hour to be tested.

“It was easy and the staff manning the centre were very helpful, especially to both my sons, ” she said.

Selvamary added that she was thankful for the programme because she and her family could not have afforded the test at private clinics.

Delivery rider Mohd Shazwan Mohammad, 24, said that as a frontliner, it was important for him to take a swab test to know if he had been infected.

“Since the pandemic hit us last year, I have gone to work as usual and so far, I have not developed any symptoms.

“But when the state government announced that they are conducting this for free, I wanted to register and my employer also encouraged us to take the swab test, ” he said.

State exco member Jagdeep Singh Deo said that as many as 1, 500 people were expected to participate in the Penang government’s two-day Covid-19 mass screening exercise on the mainland.

The PSC-19 programme will be held at the Sungai Dua Dewan Besar today.

Jagdeep, who is in charge of the housing, local government, town and country planning portfolio, said the number of people who participated in the mass screening test at the Sony Sports and Recreation Complex surpassed those screened on the first day of the programme on July 5.

On the first day of the exercise at the City Stadium on the island on July 5, 430 people were tested using Antigen Rapid Test Kits (RTK-Ag), of whom nine were positive.

Jagdeep said Penangites were encouraged to take part in the mass screening as this could help the government prevent new clusters.

Also present yesterday were Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud, state assembly deputy speaker Datuk Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah, Permatang Pasir assemblyman Muhammad Faiz Fadzil and central Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Shafee Abd Samad.

Rozali said MBSP had sent notices to traders and hawkers in Seberang Prai to encourage them to take part in the programme.

“Traders and hawkers are in the high-risk category.

“Although it is not compulsory, it is good for them to be tested as this can raise the confidence of their customers, ” he said.

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