George Town quiet as night falls on first day of movement control

Farquhar Street at around 9pm today

The first day of movement control has ended with mixed results.

Generally traffic was very light on the road in George Town tonight. Most shops were closed, apart from convenience stores. A couple of hawkers stalls and a few small eateries were selling ta pau food to customers. But most didn’t bother to open as there were only a few pedestrians on the streets.

I hear some factories are trying to operate even though they may not be in the essential sectors. Is this true?
This is not the time to think of sales and exports. Lives are at stake.

A frontliner in a government hospital I spoke to admitted to being afraid of the risks involved but also complained that the public does not seem to understand the seriousness of the situation. Medical personnel also have to cope with the stress as cases keep pouring in.

Penang now has 30 cases, up from 23 yesterday, while the total for Malaysia has soared to 790 (up 117 from yesterday). And two deaths so far.

That might seem high but in terms of cases per million people for a few selected countries, it is like this for a few selected Asean nations:

Thailand – 3
Malaysia – 22
Singapore – 54

This seems to correspond with these countries’ Global Health Security Index rankings, where Thailand is ahead of Malayia and Singapore in its ability to handle emergency situations. But the numbers in Thailand and Singapore appear to be under control.

The figures for South East Asia compare favourably with some of the more developed nations:

Canada – 16
Australia – 22
UK – 39
China – 56
France – 118
Korea – 164
Italy – 521

But then these developed nations probably have the capability to test more of their people than we do, and our figures could rise in the coming days as more people seek treatment especially after a couple of mass religious gatherings.

These developed nations probably have a lot more ICU beds than Malaysia, which has 691 beds in 56 government hospitals (2017).

A chart going around online says we seem to be following the same trajectory that Italy took. But remember, Italy was able to test many more people – 826 people per million population. How many have we tested? 10,944. That’s about 346 people per million people. Compare that with Korea, which has tested 3,692 persons per millon people as at 8 March.

Italy’s Lombardy province alone has 720 ICU beds, of which 90% is usually occupied in the winter. Quite similar to the Malaysian availabilty of ICU beds (also 90% used in normal situations) capacity for the whole country. And you know what it is like in Italy now.

The blunders and bumbling by the Muhyiddin Yassin-led government have aggravated the situation, especially the order to university students to leave their campus accommodation (which was later reversed). That was a serious blunder, not to mention the requirement for people to head to police stations before they could do inter-state travel. Really?

Meanwhile, let’s do our part and make the jobs of the doctors a little easier by staying at home as much as possible.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

GEORGE TOWN: Contractors and developers in Penang will suffer losses amounting to hundreds of millions of ringgit if the Movement Control Order (MCO) period is extended.

Will we see reduction in home price soon?

Bayi Yoda

After health control comes the misery of financial woes.
More layoffs expected for companies to sustain profitable operations (eg airlines and travel hotel industry).
The social cost (domestic debts) to be the next pandermic to hit the world.
So save up forget about face savings unnecessary spendings.


“This is not the time to think of sales and exports.” You mean, not productivity for the masses and profit for the owners above all? Some countries seem to be dragging their feet until cronies can fix their contracts for supplies, vaccine, etc. Some years ago, WHO warned that the annual flu would kill 10s (30?) of millions if there was no mass vaccination. The actual number was the usual level — 3-5 million cases of severe illness and around 650,000 deaths [Wikipedia] — but far more than for Covid-19. They really fear to find out whether there is any… Read more »


At least 1 state has banned pasar pagi/malam, including the stalls that sell food. How are they supposed to support themselves?

Khun Pana

The good news is that it is very peaceful and quiet, at least for 2 weeks. No more noise coming from vehicle alarm ,loud noisy motorbikes , streets are cleaner too. It is like step back in time to 1970s where there is peace and quiet. As for the new federal govt, it is proven that they are unable to govern and are not serious . Real slacking in detailed planning and enforcement can be seen . Good to know that we still do have sensible Malaysians who abide this quarantine period.Unlike those religionist who are hotheads and love to… Read more »