GEORGE TOWN: Penang recorded a jump in the Covid-19 rate of infection from 0.64% in June to 3.41% in July this year, says a state exco member.

State health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin (PKR-Penanti) said 70% of the recorded cases in the state originate from workplace clusters, adding that surge was recorded when Penang entered Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) in July.

According to data on the monthly infection rates, the infection rate as of May 21 and June 21 was at 0.58% and 0.64% respectively.

By July 21, the rate rose to 3.41% and eventually to 4.52% as of Aug 21.

Norlela said based on investigations by the state health authorities, factories and industries are main contributors of the Covid-19 cases.

“From a total of 8,668 cases reported from June 1 to July 14, a total of 6,222 were from workplaces.

“This is because foreign workers from over 10 factories were placed in one hotel and poor living conditions contributed to the surge in cases as well.

“In this case, since the beginning of the year, up to Aug 28, a total of 246 factories in the state were ordered to close due to the Covid-19 infection,” she said during the Penang Assembly sitting at the state assembly building in Lebuh Light here.

Norlela was replying to some 14 questions posed by assemblymen.

In replying to an oral question from Syerleena Abdul Rashid (PH-Seri Delima) on the Covid-19 case surge and vaccination rates in Penang, Norlela said Penang was not included in the Operation Surge Capacity like in Klang Valley.

“In comparison, Klang Valley received over 6.3 million doses of vaccine in July while Penang received only 753,640 vaccine doses.

“In August, Klang Valley received 1.6 million doses and Penang received 917,220 doses.

“Penang was not included in Operation Surge Capacity because our cases were not as high compared with Klang Valley, so the Federal Government decided to pile the vaccines to areas in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

“It was during this period of three weeks that Penang experienced such a surge in cases.

“At that time, we were told that Klang Valley as an epicentre of the pandemic needs to be given priority to reduce the number of cases,” she said.

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