Penang sees drop in Covid-19 cases

File photo of the Bukit Mertajam Hospital in Penang. Member of Parliament and Penang state-federal coordinator for Covid-19 management Steven Sim said he will continue to pursue plans to increase healthcare capacity in the state.

PENANG, Oct 8 – The number of Covid-19 positive cases and deaths have been on a downward trend here, since mid September, Member of Parliament for Bukit Mertajam Steven Sim, said in a statement here today.

Our average daily cases dropped 23.5 percent from 12-18 September, and 20.5 percent from Sept 26-Oct 2 and a further 30.95 percent the subsequent week, Steven who is also the Penang state-federal coordinator for Covid-19 management said.

From a record high daily cases of 2,474 cases on Sept 8, Penang daily cases dropped to 623 on Oct 6, while vaccination has gained momentum as well.

Adult vaccination has already achieved 96.1 percent for the first dose and 86.5 percent for the second dose.

Steven said the percentage however could be much higher than reported as there were no more names to be called on MySejahtera.

“One possible explanation could be, those who took their vaccines from the private market did not have their MySejahtera status updated. This is a nationwide issue which the Ministry of Health has to resolve quickly,” he added.

“Adolescent vaccination in Penang is also finishing soon. When Penang started our adolescent vaccination on 23 September 2021, we were the slowest in terms of vaccination rate among the states. When we started with only 4,177 doses on that first day, I immediately set a goal of 10,000 doses a day for the state health department.

“Today due to the efforts of our frontliners, we not only achieved 10,000 doses a day, we are also now Top 5 among the fastest for adolescent vaccination rates in the country.

“One of the critical facilities we had to work on was our ICU beds. From 69 ICU beds since late July, we managed to increase 32 more ICU beds within three weeks starting EW37. Today our ICU beds stand at 101.Since 11 September 2021, Penang received an additional RM19.4 million from the Ministry of Health to support our effort to fight Covid-19.”

The MP said he will also pursue his plans to increase healthcare capacity in the state.

Towards this, he urged the federal and state government to prepare Penang to face with Covid-19 or any pandemic in the future by strengthening the healthcare capacity to do 3T – test, trace and treat – quickly if there is a rise in new cases.

“This includes facilities, equipment as well as personnel. Instead of locking down everyone with MCO, the healthcare system should be able to promptly identify and isolate patients for treatment, increase ICU facilities including ICU beds which are critical for bringing down the number of deaths.

Among others, he also suggested that a home care programme be set up for home quarantine Covid-19 patients by mobilising private medical practitioners to provide medical and health monitoring services either via telemedicine, phone calls or if necessary, home visits.

He said it would be timely for the Ministry of Health to formulate a Malaysian Healthcare Blueprint which will enable the country’s healthcare system to deal with 21st century healthcare challenges and demands.

For Penang, such a blueprint can be adapted to our Penang2030 vision to suit the local context, he added.