THE Penang Covid-19 Call Centre has officially started operating today and can by reached by calling the careline number at 04-2618000.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said at the moment, the call centre would operate daily, including Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 5pm.
He added that the operation hours would be extended to 24 hours soon.
“The Penang Covid-19 Call Centre is an addition to the existing three call centres, namely the Covid-19 Assessment Centre or CAC Call Centre, Covid-19 Penang Integrated Control Centre or Penang Covid-19 Unified Command Centre (PUCC) and PgCare Coalition Careline or PgCare Alliance.
“The state Health Department will provide a list of quarantined patients, while the ‘Covid-19 Call Centre’ will coordinate the needs of those who are positive, undergoing quarantine at home and other related matters.
“It is hoped that with the call centre initiative, we will be able to improve the response time for the monitoring of Covid-19 patients and close contacts,” Chow told reporters during his visit to the call centre in Komtar today.
Also present were state Welfare and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, state Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, State Secretary Datuk Seri Abdul Razak Jaafar, state Senior Principal Assistant Secretary Affendi Rajini Kanth and state Human Resource Management Division psychological officer Azlan Seruji.
According to Azlan, who is in charge of the Penang Covid-19 Call Centre, there are seven staff members from the State Secretary’s office and the Social Welfare Department who will handle the calls.
“The operation of this call centre is in four main languages, namely Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin / Hokkien and Tamil.
“The staff at the call centre will contact the patients based on the name list provided by the state Health Department.
“But, they can also call us at our hotline if they need psychological support or other help. Rest assured, we will do everything we can to assist them,” he added.
On a separate matter, Chow also announced that the walk-in initiative for Covid-19 vaccination would be open to non-Malaysians starting from Sept 17.
“It will involve four Covid-19 vaccination centres (PPVs) in the state.
“They are Setia SPICE Convention Centre, Dewan Millenium in Kepala Batas, SP Arena (Seberang Jaya) and Dewan Serbaguna Sungai Bakap in Nibong Tebal.
“The walk-in options at the four PPVs will start from 2pm every day,” said Chow.
Chow said after allowing 10 PPVs in Penang with walk-in options for Malaysian citizens only since Sept 8, a total of 9,011 individuals (adult population) have gone through the walk-in initiative as of yesterday (Sept 14).
“And according to the data from the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) until Sept 14, there are still 116,403 individuals from the adult population in Penang who still did not receive a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
“However, the remaining number also includes those who have pay to obtain the Covid-19 vaccine (on their own initiative) at registered private clinics and hospitals.
“Meanwhile, the vaccination for teenagers aged 13 to 17 will begin in Penang soon.
“The related ministry is currently refining the vaccination process that is suitable for the teenagers aged 18 and below.
“The engagement sessions involving relevant agencies and the state Health Department were already held with the hope that its implementation will be expedited,” he added.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud