By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 13: Sarawakians are only allowed to hold celebrations for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak festivals on their respective first day in light of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) which has been extended until June 9.
State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas disclosed that under the standard operating procedure (SOP) for festivals and celebrations, home visits are limited to 20 close family members and to the first day of the said celebration only.
“Whether you are celebrating Hari Gawai or Hari Raya, we have to put up some restrictions. We hope everybody is prepared to sacrifice… it will be worth it and in that way, we can win the battle against Covid-19,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 here today.
Even though the Covid-19 situation has improved, Uggah however emphasised that people should not be complacent considering what had happened in countries like Singapore and South Korea which saw a resurgence in cases after initially being praised for their handling of cases.
“If we are not careful, there may be a second (Covid-19) wave. As such, all of us must continue to be vigilant and observant especially now that the economic sectors have reopened but don’t forget that social distancing and personal hygiene is important to stop the spread and save lives.
“The Covid-19 curve is flattening not because of SDMC’s efforts only, but most importantly, also the cooperation of the people in Sarawak in obliging with the guidelines and SOP as well as taking preventive measures on their own,” he added.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is expected to fall on May 24, while Gawai Dayak is celebrated on June 1.
Meanwhile, according to the SOP for festival celebrations released by the National Security Council (NSC), all family members and inviduals must observe social distancing of at least one metre, wear face masks, observe personal hygiene such as washing hands often or using hand sanitiser as well as ensure cleanliness of equipment at home.
People are also reminded to avoid crowding in a space, crowded area, confined area and engaging in close quarter conversations.
Every individual, whether they are visiting or receiving visitors, should practise contactless greetings and avoid making handshakes, physical contact, and sharing food and beverage or utensils, and if possible, shorten the time of meeting.
Home owners are also urged to carry out sanitisation more frequently especially of the dining table and surfaces exposed to contact.
However, the practice of ‘balik kampung’ (returning to hometowns), visiting friends or relatives, holding or visiting open houses, visiting graves, and hosting or attending small gatherings for feasting or prayers are strictly not allowed. — DayakDaily