Covid-19 Exclusives: Covid-19 in Penang - Part Two

By Enzo Sim

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JULY 2020

July 28

The Sivagangga cluster originates from Kubang Pasu, Kedah. It is identified that the index patient of the cluster is an owner of a nasi kandar restaurant who violated his home quarantine order upon returning from India. (This cluster soon expands into Penang and Perlis).


August 1

The wearing of face masks is made mandatory in all public places. Violation of this regulation, which is part of the governmentendorsed Covid-19 prevention SOPs, will result in a compound fine of up to RM1,000.

August 7

After 91 days as a “green state”, Penang detects a new Covid-19 case, stemming from the Sivagangga cluster.

August 16

The Malaysian Institute for Medical Research detects the D614G mutation variety after testing three positive cases from the Sivagangga cluster and one from the Ulu Tiram cluster. This mutation, which is reportedly more infectious than its D614 cousin, is now the dominant form of the Covid-19 virus.

Following active Covid-19 cases in the state, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announces that Penang is no longer granting permission for receiving patients or “medical tourists”.

August 17

Penang records three more cases in the northeast district linked to the Tawar cluster in Kedah. This brings the tally to 10 since August 7. To date, all active cases in Penang are linked to Kedah's Sivagangga and Tawar clusters, and to Perak’s Kurau cluster.

Positive Covid-19 cases are also detected in the four other districts, with two cases in Central Seberang Perai, and one case each in the southwest, in South Seberang Perai and in North Seberang Perai.


September 6

A new Covid-19 case is reported in George Town, nullifying its green zone status just two days after the state was declared free of infections.

September 15

The Ara cluster in the southwest district of Penang is identified after a 44-year-old man tests positive upon his arrival to Sandakan, Sabah from Peninsular Malaysia.

September 21

A relative of the Ara cluster’s index patient tests positive for Covid-19.


October 5

An 85-year-old inmate is found unconscious inside his cell at the Penang Remand Prison at 7am, and is pronounced dead about 50 minutes later. It is confirmed that he had Covid-19, making the Penang Remand Prison the third Malaysian prison to report Covid-19 infections after Tawau in Sabah and Alor Setar in Kedah.

October 12

A new cluster is identified in the Penang Remand Prison after it recorded 141 cases in one day.

October 13

The special National Security Council (NSC) implements an Enhanced MCO (EMCO) in the Penang Remand Prison and the Penang Prison Department quarters, involving 2,800 inmates, prison staff and their family members.

October 17

Twenty-six positive Covid-19 cases are reported at the Seberang Perai Prison in Jawi, including one prison officer, making this the first-ever Covid-19 case involving a prison personnel in Penang. Active cases now total 54.

October 18

Penang now has two major Covid-19 clusters – the Penang Remand Prison cluster and the Jawi Prison cluster. The Penang Remand Prison cluster has since logged 377 positive Covid-19 cases. Altogether, Penang has recorded 591 positive cases since the pandemic hit the country, with three deaths.

October 21

The index patient of what soon becomes the Bayan cluster is identified following warding at the Penang General Hospital.

October 22

The EMCO is imposed at the Seberang Perai Prison in Jawi and its prison quarters, following a rise in the number of infections. The cases now number 95.

October 30

Seven apartments and flats in the Bayan Lepas and Batu Maung areas have reported at least one positive Covid-19 case in their premises, linked to the Bayan cluster. To date, that cluster has recorded 47 active cases, affecting the Island’s northeast and southwest districts, as well as North Seberang Perai.


November 1

The Tembaga cluster from the northeast and southwest districts is identified with the index patient displaying Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) symptoms. Of the 69 people screened, seven test positive, 13 negative while 49 are awaiting the results.

November 4

On the advice of the Health Ministry, a two-week Conditional MCO (CMCO) is to be imposed in sub-district 12 of Penang’s southwest district from November 6.

November 7

The government implements the CMCO in all states of the Peninsular except for Perlis, Pahang and Kelantan, from November 9 to December 6.


Enzo Sim

is a Mass Communications graduate who has an unwavering passion towards international relations, history and regional affairs of Southeast Asia. His passion has brought him to different Southeast Asian capitals to explore the diverse cultural intricacies within the region.