SDMC: Tomb-sweeping, prayers allowed under strict SOP for Qing Ming festival

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KUCHING, March 17: Sarawak’s Chinese community are allowed to perform tomb-sweeping customs and prayers at this year’s Qing Ming or Chinese All Souls Day, which falls on April 4, with strict standard operating procedures (SOP).

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), in its daily Covid-19 situation update for Sarawak today, informed that customs of visiting cemeteries and columbariums for Qing Ming Jie are allowed this year.

SDMC informed that the SOP will come into effect from March 20 to April 14 from 4am to 12pm for cemeteries and from 8am to 4pm for columbariums or memorial halls.

However, inter-zone movement is not allowed for visits to cemeteries, columbariums or memorial halls.

For rituals in cemeteries, not more than eight family members are allowed and not more than two family members allowed to be present at columbariums or memorial halls.

Basic SOP and restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 still applied for all activities including mask-wearing, frequent hand washing or using hand sanitisers and physical distancing of at least one metre must be observed.

The public should leave the cemeteries, columbariums or memorial halls immediately once tomb sweeping, prayers and rituals have been done.

It is also compulsory for cemeteries as well as columbariums or memorial halls at houses of worship to set up an area to take body temperature and record attendance of visitors with the MySejahtera app or manually using books as well as providing hand sanitisers for public use.

Individuals with symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, flu or difficulty in breathing are not allowed to join any tomb-sweeping, prayers or rituals activities.

Individuals with chronic diseases, the elderly and children under 12 years of age are also discouraged from participating in tomb-sweeping activities.

Visitors are also reminded to avoid mingling in close proximity and any activities that would cause crowding and gathering.

Cemetery management is also required to appoint a minimum of three persons, while columbariums or memorial halls management assign a minimum of two persons to monitor and enforce SOP as well as to control crowds.

Deep sanitising and cleaning of columbariums and memorial halls should be carried out frequently at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Qing Ming is one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals observed by the Chinese community to remember, honour and pay respect to ancestors and those who have passed.

Families will visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and tidy up their gravesites, pray and make ritual offerings.— DayakDaily