Big challenge to control spread of Covid-19 in longhouses, says Sibu police chief

Several longhouses have been placed under lockdown as Covid-19 cases flare in rural areas. File Photo

SIBU, May 11: Only residents of longhouses under lockdown can help stop the spread of Covid-19 by strictly adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP).

Sibu district police chief ACP Stanley Jonathan Ringgit said the authorities are facing huge challenges to stop the virus from spreading in longhouses.

“It is not easy to control the virus from spreading in longhouses due to the setup of a longhouse and customary way of life of the occupants,” he told reporters at the Central Police station today.

He explained that it was difficult for the authorities to constantly control the movement of people from one end of the longhouse to the other end.

“It is not that easy to check on the movement of the occupants from one end to the other of the longhouse. That is why infection in longhouses spread very fast,” he said.

Moreover, enforcement personnel stationed at longhouses under lockdown were only able to monitor the goings-on from outside the longhouse, as they do not enter it to check on the movement of the residents.

“It is easier to monitor when residents are outside the longhouse but not when they are inside,” he said.

Stanley likened the compliance to SOPs to the fastening of one’s seatbelt.

“At police road blocks, people will only buckle up their seatbelts when they see the police,” he added.

He appealed to longhouse residents to independently comply to the SOP and not do it only when tougher enforcement is in place.

There are still a number of longhouses in Sibu, Kanowit and Selangau which are undergoing the Enhanced Movement Control Order. — DayakDaily