GEORGE TOWN, Sept 10 — Penang should leverage the skills and expertise of the private medical sector here for its fight against Covid-19, said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
The Bagan MP said Penang has a natural competitive advantage as it has the best private medical sector in Malaysia and should use this to its advantage.
According to data from the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 data site, CovidNow, Lim said Penang has the highest infection per capita in the country.
Data over the last two weeks showed that Penang has 14,300 cases per thousand population, compared to the national average of 8,500 cases.
Yesterday, Penang reported a new tragic record high number of 47 deaths with 2,243 cases, he said.
He said Penang’s positivity rate of 16.02 per cent over seven days as at September 6 is more than three times higher than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) five per cent.
“This indicates not only widespread under-testing but that the infection is within the community and that the situation is likely to get worse before getting better,” he warned in a statement issued today.
The number of deaths per hundred thousand population in Penang was also creeping up at 19.1 deaths, the third highest in the country, compared to the national average of 13.1 deaths, he said.
He said ventilator utilisation in Penang was also the second highest in Malaysia at 59.1 per cent compared to the national average of 37.5 per cent.
He said intensive care unit (ICU) utilisation rate in Penang was the second highest in the country at 98.2 per cent, compared to the national average of 78.4 per cent.
“This grim statistic portends a higher number of deaths in Penang in the coming days,” he said.
He said there is an urgent need for the federal government to pour resources and manpower, medicines, more ICU beds and facilities to the overstretched hospitals in order to protect the safety of its staff and patients.
He hoped Health Minister Khairy Jamaludin will offer good news when the latter visits Penang tomorrow.
“There can be common ground for collaboration with the Penang state government for the public good to win the battle against Covid-19 together to save lives and livelihood,” he said.
He also welcomed the introduction of the CovidNow system yesterday that promoted transparency along with providing real-time, up-to-date and granular data that can help to target the Covid-19 hotspots.
“DAP applauds the four-person data developers team behind the website — Henry, Calum Lim, Sheng Han Lim, and Roshan Maghhan, who volunteered their services and intelligence pro-bono,” he said.
He said their efforts should not be wasted as targeted action could be taken based on the data to win the battle against Covid-19.
“If CovidNow data is followed up with immediate action, this gives some hope that the whole-of-society approach involving all segments of society can participate to win the battle against Covic-19,” he said.