After its announcement of closure in March, Penang’s largest convention hotel, the Hotel Equatorial Penang (HEP) reopened today, 28 June 2021 as one of the biggest Covid-19 Vaccine Administration Centre or PPV in the state.
The hotel is expected to be administering approximately 1,600 doses of vaccine per day with the assistance of 40 paid staff and 4 management staff. The focused group to receive vaccines from the hotel include those working in Penang’s Business & Industrial sectors and Small Medium Industries (SMI).
Upon its official day of operations as a PPV, the Chief Minister of Penang, Chow Kon Yeow visited the hotel to further witness and understand the
procedures and arrangements. Also joining the visit were the Hon. Mr Yeoh Soon Hin (Penang State Executive Councilor for Tourism and Creative Economy) together with Mr Ashwin Gunasekeran (Chief Executive Officer of Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB)).
“The Penang State Government is exploring the feasibility of more hotels functioning as PPVs to ramp up Penang’s vaccination drive, strategically putting these sites to great use during this period when travel restrictions are still in place. Hotel Equatorial Penang is the first convention hotel to be converted into a PPV and I believe this will assist greatly in speeding up the vaccination process and cover more of Penang’s population,” said Mr Yeoh.
The conversion involves one of the largest column-free ballrooms in the hotel – the Grand Ballroom which can previously accommodate up to 2,000 guests in general prior to social distancing.
Mr. Alan Ong, advisor to Hotel Equatorial Penang explains that the decision to convert the hotel into a PPV is a joint effort between HEP and the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI), International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI), and Penang Health Department (JKNPP) through the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd (ProtectHealth) under the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“Although the hotel is closed, we are glad to be able to make available the facilities for use as a PPV and hope that it will be a meaningful contribution in our nation's battle against the pandemic,” said Mr. Alan Ong.
“Hotel Equatorial Penang has been a beacon filled with history and memorable moments for Penangites and those who visit Penang. Even though its closure, it is still serving the people of Penang through this trying time. We are glad to be witnessing this achievement from a valuable industry partner,” said Mr. Ashwin.
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