Nearly Seven Of 10 Penang Covid-19 Cases Are Sporadic

From May 10 to June 3 this year, Penang recorded 7,835 new Covid-19 cases, comprising 5,364 unlinked infections and 2,471 cases from clusters.

GEORGE TOWN, June 4 — We are already one full month into the implementation of MCO 3.0 in Penang, which started on May 10, 2021. The data for Covid-19 cases from March 19 to May 9 showed a startling 55 per cent unlinked or sporadic cases, as published on May 11, 2021.

On the same day, the health director-general pointed to 80 per cent of such cases nationwide, which went as high as 89.1 per cent in the period of April 9 to May 8, as computed by CodeBlue in an article from May 13.

It has been 25 days since MCO 3.0 started on May 10, and we have seen a tightened version of the MCO commencing on May 25. There was also a spike in cases for many states, and Malaysia also breached the 9,000 mark on May 29 with 9,020 cases.

Many states also hit their record highs; either on May 29, or before that, e.g. Kelantan – 907 (May 29), Negeri Sembilan – 898 (May 29), Penang – 421 (May 28), and Perak – 405 (May 28). Hence it was not surprising that a total lockdown was announced and implemented from June 1. From the looks of it, it is highly likely that this lockdown will be extended further beyond June 14.

Let us revisit the case numbers in Penang. Back then, from March 19 till May 9, it was as expected the cases from factory clusters formed the majority (75 per cent) of total cluster cases.

But factory cluster cases were soon eclipsed by unlinked or sporadic cases which would make up 55 per cent of total Covid-19 cases in Penang, with factory cases coming in second at 34 per cent, while detention centre cases making up 6 per cent, with school, construction site, community and office cases making up the remaining 5 per cent.

With this premise, we shall survey the numbers for the period of May 10 till June 3 and see what we get. The total new cases for that period was 7,835; out of which 2,471 are from clusters while 5,364 are unlinked. That’s an increased of 68.5 per cent unlinked cases in Penang (up from the previous 55 per cent).

Separating the 2,471 from the clusters, we see the obvious 1,882 from factories (76.2 per cent of cluster cases), 430 from the community (17.4 per cent of cluster cases), 51 from old folks’ homes, which have registered three deaths so far (2.1 per cent of cluster cases), 81 from schools and kindergartens (3.3 per cent of cluster cases), and lastly 27 from construction sites (1.1 per cent of cluster cases).

Currently in the whole of Malaysia, our attention is transfixed on the vaccination programme. The Astra-Zeneca opt-in programme did at least show that Malaysians are very willing to take this important step of not only protecting themselves, but also the community, by embracing the vaccine as the most viable option going forward.

Just yesterday, the State Health Department started their mobile vaccination programme, indeed a much applauded and much awaited initiative to bring the vaccine to the elderly at old folks’ homes and senior care centres.

And so here we are, looking at nationwide case numbers in the 7,000s and perhaps 10,000s, with a desperate need for solutions to stem the spike in transmission. We look to the government of the day to do as best as they can to lead our nation through these trying times.

Let’s not forget that besides the health burden that many are facing, Covid-19 or otherwise, we have equally many in our country facing economic hardships.

We shall continue to look out for each other, and to help one another as fellow rakyat. Indeed, may the #KitaBantu spirit prevail despite the challenges we face.

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