GEORGE TOWN, Aug 12 ― Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow hopes Putrajaya will revise the SOPs for dine-ins and require food and beverage (F&B) outlet operators and their staff to receive at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Initially, the SOPs required shop staff to be fully vaccinated, but the updated SOPs state that the F&B outlet lists the number of workers who have completed their doses.
The latest SOPs also require all customers to be fully vaccinated if they wish to dine in.
“There was some confusion on the latest SOPs and concerns were raised over this,” Chow said in a press conference here this morning.
He said the state government discussed this and proposed that the SOPs include a requirement that the operators and workers serving customers must have received at least one dose of vaccine each.
“So, if the establishment has 10 workers and only five have received at least one dose of the vaccine, then only the five are allowed to work at the establishment for dine-ins,” he said, adding that this would provide Covid-19 health safety assurance for both workers and customers.
Chow said the Penang government expects 100 per cent of adults registered for vaccination to receive at least one dose by early next month and foresees that this would affect the number of people who wish to eat out in the meantime.
“No point opening for dine-in when they don’t have customers,” he said.
Chow had earlier visited the Covid-19 mass screening programme (PSC19) at Taman Manggis here together with Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, Penang Island City Council Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang and northeast district police chief Assistant Commissioner Soffian Santong.
Chow said Penang’s Covid-19 positivity rate is about 11 per cent.
He said each week, about 50,000 people are screened in the state, not only through the PSC19 programme.
He said a total 55,335 individuals were screened between July 25 and 31 and a total 4,309 cases were positive, which is a 7.79 per cent positive rate.
“For the epic week of August 1 and 7, a total 51,947 individuals were screened where 5,841 cases were positive which is a 11.24 per cent positive rate,” he said.
Chow also warned that more positive cases will be reported in the state starting this week as the state health department will be using results from the RTK Antigen tests.
“The state health department will be using the RTK Antigen results to be included in the daily statistics, they will not wait for the PCR test results,” he said.
He said the health department will only revert back to using PCR test results if the positive rate in the state drops to below 10 per cent.
On the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the state, Chow said the state health department will be setting up a new Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centre (PKRC) to accommodate the increase in cases.
“The new PKRC will be announced in a few days,” he said.
Earlier, Jagdeep said a total 27,239 people have been screened in 33 locations under PSC19 but only 1,437 were positive under the RTK Antigen tests, which is only 5.28 per cent of those screened.
“When PCR was conducted, only 815 were positive or 2.99 per cent so overall, we have about three per cent of positive cases from the PSC19,” he said.