Penang CM: Too early to decide on EMCO for Ara Covid-19 cluster

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks to reporters at the Penang Tech Dome in George Town September 21, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks to reporters at the Penang Tech Dome in George Town September 21, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 21 — It is still too early for Penang to implement an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) due to the new Ara cluster at the southwest district of the island, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

The Penang lawmaker said so far there were only two confirmed Covid-19 cases in the new cluster, the index case and his relative.

He said contact tracing was already conducted before the cases were announced in the news.

He added that it remained to be seen how much it has spread and how many new cases will emerge from the cluster.

“Usually this will take a few days to see how it develops, it may stop there or it may grow,” he said in a press conference after officiating the opening of Whytehouse Kindergarten at Tech Dome Penang here.

Chow said the health department director will brief him if the situation worsened but there was no need at the moment.

“If there is a need, the director will brief me on the situation,” he said.

Chow also confirmed that 14 close contacts with the index case were already swabbed and only two were positive, including the index case.

The second case is a student in a primary school but he said the school was not closed.

“Only the class will be tested, the school was not closed,” he said.

Chow then said it is possible that there is a community spread of the virus as the source of the Ara cluster was unknown.

“The virus is already in the community, just that some people may not have symptoms, the health department named it as a new cluster as they do not know the source of the infection,” he said.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday said the Ara cluster was detected after a 44-year-old man was tested positive after arriving in Sandakan, Sabah, from Peninsular Malaysia on September 15.

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