Numbers Don’t Lie, Penang’s Covid-19 Cases Are Dropping — Boo Soon Yew

The beds set up at Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang are indeed Covid-19 centres for positive cases, but for low-risk individuals.

Much has happened in Malaysia and even the world as we continue to grapple with this Covid-19 pandemic. Cases are already into the third wave, and even in Hong Kong acknowledging a fourth wave right now.

Yet the light, as they say is at the end of the tunnel with announcements of at least 2 vaccines, mRNA vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer, which currently show much promise as they published their clinical testing results.

Back in the home front, Selangor has gradually displaced Sabah as the state with the most daily new cases, even to the century mark almost daily.

While in Penang, though its new cases hit the heady heights of 192 on 6/11/2020 with a highest number of active cases of 370 on 11/11, we have been on a downtrend since that mid-November period, where of course the escalating cases were coupled with incessant fake news coming through day by day!

Now, numbers don’t lie! Let the graph of new cases and active cases show you that the downtrend is evident from those two heights I mentioned earlier above. In fact, new cases in Penang have decreased from the highest of 192 on 6/11 till the 40s, 30s and 20s, with the last 2 days of 21/11 and 22/11 yielding 17 and 15 new cases respectively. Let’s not forget the rare single-digit of 8 new cases on 19/11. If there are little victories we can cheer for, it is certainly this!

Now for active cases, the total number is straightforward from the peak of 370 on 11/11, which in fact was a plateau of 300+ active cases persisting from 6/11 till 12/11, after which active cases reduced gradually into 200+ and finally broke through to 173 on 21/11, and yesterday hitting 155 on 22/11. Again, this time we look to the moment the active cases will dip below the century mark.

Now this drop in active cases must come with a comparison to what has been happening in all the current 11 active clusters in Penang. Data for this is scarce as KKM only issues it maybe once every seven days. So, here are the updated figures till 18/11, as accordance to KKM data:


  • Alma: 46 total; 43 recovered
  • Bayan: 156 total: 103 recovered
  • Penang Remand Prison: 512 total, 507 recovered
  • Seberang Perai Prison: 577 total, 472 recovered
  • Tembaga: 15 total, 13 recovered
  • Intan: 167 total, 60 recovered
  • Permatang: 83 total, 19 recovered
  • Rajawali: 10 total, 6 recovered
  • Assumption: 17 total
  • Summer: 11 total
  • Seri Pasir: 11 total

All in all, those that have showed steady progress to near full recovery include Alma (93.5% recovery), Penang Remand Prison (99.4%), Tembaga (86.7%) and Seberang Perai Prison (81.8%). Some clusters overlap with other states like Kedah, Perak and Perlis.

Kedah (Alma, Bayan, Intan, Assumption & Permatang), Perak (Alma, Bayan & Permatang) and Perlis (Permatang) all do contribute to the total for those clusters, significantly so to Bayan Cluster.

Hence as we sit back and digest these numbers — what can we conclude ? Again let me reiterate that numbers and graphs do not lie — Penang Covid-19 cases are on the decline.

Nevertheless, what do lie are voice messages, WhatsApp forwards and occasionally, (which is with sadness), press reports! We have seen these past days purveyors of fake news in their fluid composition, whether in voice or text, whether in dialect or in any other languages; attempt to sow panic, distrust and anger at individuals already mentioned as index cases or main initial cases of certain clusters. This is utter slander. Only we can stop these messages when we receive them and nip them in the bud or even clarify with the proper authorities.

Just like the example of the 100 beds set up at Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang, which naturally sparked a fear of a “spike in Covid cases” coupled with “penang hospital & dental college is already full!” endings to these messages that can only send you into a panic mode.

Our CM Chow Kon Yeow did eventually have a press conference that appeared in an evening Bernama report on 18/11, explaining that the Kompleks will be used as a PKRC, Pusat Kuarantin & Rawatan Covid-19. In fact, it’s the third in the state after two others were set up in the Remand Prison and Seberang Perai Prison.

So now, things make sense! They are indeed Covid-19 centres for positive cases, but as explained in an earlier Buletin Mutiara article on 17/11, for low-risk individuals.

So in conclusion, these patients (if they are placed there) have near minimal to zero chance of infecting others. In fact, since they are “all already positive”, the proximity of the beds in the pics that went viral make logical understanding.

Yet, as they say, the “coup de grâce” was when the same pictures for Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang were used the next day as pictures from Stadium Indra Mulia, Perak that also was setting up the same PKRC as a form of readiness! Sigh. Online news portals just never learn the need to check their sources.

Anyway, as we sit back and see 2020 fade away (2021 is beckoning soon), it doesn’t seem like Covid-19 will go away. We must and still strictly adhere to following the SOP.

Wear our masks, even have some on standby in our bags, be it for ourselves or others in need of one. Keep our social distancing, “gently reminding” others whom we feel are encroaching into our “no-fly-zone air space”, and not forgetting to sanitise whenever we can.

Finally, each time we reach home, let’s immediately clean our hands and feet, even our body, face, and hair with a good shower or bath, plus all clothing to be washed.

Let us continue to do our parts. Let us play our roles as outright frontliners in the field, facing the unknown.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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