WITH COVID-19 cases surging in the state, Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow appealed to the Federal Government to implement several strategies to curb the rise of pandemic.
“Penangites are worried, especially parents. They adhere strictly to the standard operating procedures (SOP) but rising infection cases are affecting businesses and jobs.
“Therefore, I urge the Federal Government to implement several strategies soon to help our beloved state. Remember, Penang is an important contributor to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP),” he said, in a statement.
As of yesterday, the Penang state health department said that there are 18 active COVID-19 clusters in the state, involving factories (11), educational centre (1), Immigration depot and prison (2) and others (4).
Touching on the matter, Chow outlined four measures on how the Federal Government could help Penang, which are National Security Council (NSC) and the Health Ministry (MOH) making real time risk assessment, implementing “Safe@Work” initiative, strict SOP enforcement on factories and vaccinating factory workers.
Elaborating, Chow said the MOH and NSC must understand that despite imposing the movement control order (MCO) and Enhanced MCO at several industrial areas such as Mukim 12 and Mukim 13, the surrounding areas remain as red zones.
“What is troubling is that the infections are spreading to other places in South Perai, which is also an important industrial hub of the state.
“From there, the coronavirus spreads to schools located at the area, as some of the parents work at the factories there,” said the Padang Kota state assemblyman.
Therefore, he urged the International Trade and Industries Ministry (Miti) to hasten the implementation of the “Safe@Work” initiative.
“Plus, the Government should also be strict with factories which breach SOP, especially those with repeated outbreaks.
“And we should also include factory workers in the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK),” Chow opined.
He added that the Government should also consider closing schools and implement online learning and teaching system fully, for the time being.
“This is needed as yesterday, the MOH detected the Air Tawar cluster, where it involves teachers, employees and students at the Butterworth Vocation College, resulting in its management to close down the establishment,” Chow remarked. – March 21, 2021.