Dayaks advised not to return for Gawai due to spike in Covid-19 cases

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing (file photo)

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 2: Sarawakians especially the Dayaks are advised not to go back to their longhouses in the rural areas for the upcoming Gawai celebration in light of the current spike of Covid-19 cases in the State.

In stating this, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said this reminder should be followed until Sarawak is able to contain the Covid-19 pandemic or when most Sarawakians have been fully vaccinated.

“Longhouses’ culture and lifestyle is a petri dish for Covid-19. If one is affected, the virus will spread like wildfire in the Dayak areas,” he said in a statement today.

“At the same time, Masing advised companies involved in implementing rural projects to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

“Do not use illegal workers because they could be the source of Covid-19,” he added.

He went on to express his disappointment with the Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) in constructing Baleh Hydroelectric Project (HEP) for not monitoring the workers on site closely.

“The Putai Cluster is the consequence of their (SEB) lapse in monitoring their workforce. As the client of Baleh dam construction, they must be more aware of the danger posed by Covid-19 in rural areas,” he said.

On April 25, SDMC announced the emergence of Putai Cluster involving construction site workers of the hydroelectric dam project in Ulu Baleh, Bukit Mabong.

As of yesterday (May 1), a total of 953 people have been screened in relation to the cluster. Of these, 311 were positive while 642 negative. — DayakDaily