Surveying Penang’s Covid-19 Situation — Boo Soon Yew

By CodeBlue | 01 December 2020

You can view every single cluster on the KKM Info Terkini web portal.

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“Knowledge is power”, so suggested by Francis Bacon, an English philosopher who lived through the late 1500s into the early 1600s, “scientia est potentia” — a thought that has since brought a modern-day dictionary meaning, the more one knows, the more one will be able to control events.

This meaning is even now brought more to the test in these past two days of Covid-19 reporting in Penang where we have been used to the daily feeding on the case numbers; distributed over all the districts the active cases, discharged cases and most crucially the details by each Mukim of the Daerah (districts) on which cluster the cases belong to, or if not belonging to an existing cluster, whether they are under Close Contacts or “Lain-lain saringan”. Of course the insidious SARI (severe acute respiratory infection) designation is also crucial for it has, in the past, been the start of a couple of clusters in Penang.

Yet, strangely with reasons only known to the Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Pulau Pinang, we have been deprived of this daily breakdown for both 29/11 and 30/11 so far. Needless to say, it has stirred up much debate with a lot of unnecessary and unfair brunt faced by the admins of the “Penang Lawan Covid-19” Facebook page that have been working tirelessly every day, providing us with the updates.

Yet, is “knowledge really power” as what Francis Bacon suggested 420 years ago? Can we, as the dictionary definition suggests, “allow us to control events”, especially pertaining to Covid-19 infection ?

The answers to both questions are surely a resounding No and a No!

However, in this dearth of knowledge, if one is resourceful enough, you will know how to “mine” for information from the KKM Info Terkini web portal. Tap on the usual report for the day, scroll down and you will see “Laporan Harian”. Then tap on “Kluster” and lo and behold, scrolling down will let you view EVERY SINGLE CLUSTER that we have so far, even if they show zero cases for the day. What is great about this data is how you can view the progress of the cluster: total cases, active cases, number recovered and death (if any).

With this, based on KKM data updated till 30/11/2020, I am glad to share the news that both the Rajawali and Assumption Clusters have shown 100% recovery from a total of 11 and 19 cases respectively. Both the Tembaga and Summer Clusters have only one active case left from a total of 16 and 12 cases respectively.

At this moment, I wonder what happened to the “many many cases” that the voice message & text rumours were trying to tell us these past weeks… hmm, anyway…

Even the old Alma Cluster has only three active cases out of total 46, but a caveat here is that they have been the same three even since 18/11. That’s almost close to two full weeks in the hospital, added with any prior days before 18/11. It’s in the hope these three will eventually recover, whether they are from Penang, Kedah or Perak.

Permatang Cluster was thought to be a worry with cases in Penang, Kedah, Perak and even Perlis! 2,077 individuals were screened across all four states with a total of 85 cases, but 71 has since recovered with 13 active cases and sadly 1 death.

Seri Pasir Cluster, a recently announced cluster, looks to be contained with a total of 25 cases, out of which 15 are active cases and 10 has recovered.

Looking at the Penjara Clusters; Penjara Reman Pulau Pinang had their EMCO ended, yet isolated cases have cropped up, with a need for the wardens to always be on guard, especially in their observance of SOP (standard operating procedures). This is now for the sake of their family members too. Penjara Reman currently has a total of 522 cases; eight active, 513 recovered and one death (the original 85-year-old inmate whose death triggered the search for cases).

Penjara Seberang Perai has shown a steady decline of new cases, with a total of 607 cases; 42 active, 565 recovered.

Where we stand with concern in Penang are for the factory cases, especially amongst foreign workers. Two clusters have basically waned down: Bayan and Intan Clusters.

Bayan Cluster hit a height of 167 cases; with only 10 active now and 157 recovered. Intan Cluster hit a high of 207 cases; with 34 active and 173 recovered. Both show the extant of the KKM (Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia) response with a huge number of individuals screened; 3468 for Bayan Cluster and 2,871 for Intan Cluster. You can see KKM screen by the thousands.

Similar now for our latest factory clusters: Damar Laut Cluster and Beringin Cluster, both having 962 and 9,316 screened so far, yielding a total at 30/11 of 131 cases for Damar Laut and 89 cases for Beringin.

Can we expect more? Of course we can. We brace for more, but it is just normal from the stories we hear and read of living conditions amongst especially the foreign workers.

Yet, let the positive cases be identified, the patients being isolated, treated, then allowed to fully recover. Surely the cases will be on a downtrend again as it was till 26/11.

As for ourselves as individuals, families, or with friends and work colleagues, let us still diligently maintain SOP of masking and social distancing, cleaning our hands, and having a good bath later when we are home plus washing our clothing.

Little by little, the virus will have not many places to go to. Little by little, like any kind of organism, when there is no more available host, it dies and we sincerely look to this outcome one day in the future!

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