Covid-19 still a concern


Not taking any chances: Visitors seen wearing masks at Chew Jetty in George Town. A recent check showed that Penang tourists mostly had their masks on in crowded areas. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

Penang tourists wary but state says safety measures in place

GEORGE TOWN: Covid-19 continues to be of concern to many tourists but the state has given an assurance that Penang is still a safe place for its visitors.

The recent surge in cases in Singapore has heightened apprehension, serving as a reminder of the persistent threat posed by the virus.

A recent check showed that visitors to Penang, especially the elderly, mostly had their masks on in crowded areas.

Policeman Syazwan Shafian, 23, from Singapore, who was spending four days holidaying in Penang with his family of nine, said they were careful to take the necessary precautions to avoid getting infected.

“We planned this trip three months ago and we are not about to let Covid-19 stop us from enjoying ourselves.

“It’s important for everyone to adapt and return to their pre-Covid routine.

“However, we remain vigilant and if the children start coughing, we’ll put face masks on them.

“We’re doing our part by sticking together and avoiding crowded places,” he said when met at the Chew Jetty here yesterday.

Singapore reported 25,000 Covid-19 cases in the week of May 5 to 11, compared with 13,700 cases in the previous week.

The average daily Covid-19 hospitalisations in Singapore increased to about 250 cases in the same period, from 181 the week before.

The KP.1 and KP.2 Covid-19 strains accounted for more than two-thirds of the current caseload in the city-state.

Office administrator Hopelina Wallace, 51, from Kuching, said her family kept their masks on throughout the flight to Penang because of the aircraft cabin’s enclosed environment.

And while on their sightseeing round, they also wore their masks when they were indoors or at crowded places.

“While prevention remains crucial, we cannot confine ourselves indoors indefinitely,” she added.

Checks at other places, including wet markets such as the Jelutong market, found that many visitors had chosen to mask up.

Penang health committee chairman Daniel Gooi assured the public that standard preventive measures are still in place in the state.

“Our healthcare facilities are closely monitoring the surge in cases in Singapore and we have adequate capacity to manage any existing cases.

“Thus far, we haven’t observed any spike in cases similar to what Singapore is experiencing.

“However, we urge everyone to adopt good hygiene habits, wear masks in crowded settings, maintain physical distance and seek medical assistance if they have any symptoms,” he said.

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