SMC decides not to close Sibu Central Market despite more Covid-19 cases to help hawkers survive

A file photo of the Sibu Central Market, which has seen a number of positive Covid-19 cases recently.

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SIBU, April 13: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) will not close the Sibu Central Market again, despite advice by the Health Ministry following 16 more Covid-19 cases being reported.

The council had closed the market from Feb 8-28 after 47 cases were reported earlier that month.

“When we reopened the market on March 1, a total of 14 cases occurred in that month. Two days ago, another four cases happened again. The hawkers were infected by positive cases,” said SMC chairman Clarence Ting after inspecting the market today.

Accompanying him was his deputy Bujang Abdul Majid and chairman for Market and Petty Trader Committee Councillor Albert Tiang.

According to Ting, all hawkers in the central market will suffer if there is another closure as they would not have any income.

“The economy is very bad now and we need to consider the financial position of the hawkers. If we are to close the central market, the other markets will experience a bigger crowd, so we need to spread them out,” he said.

Ting said the issue was not to close the market, but to make it safer to visitors.

The council would fence-up all four-corners of the central market so as to control the number of visitors, he explained.

“As it is now, people can just sneak in from other side entrances despite barricade lines being set up. With this fencing, people will have to use a common entry and exit point,” he said.

The other method was to close a particular area if infections were recorded, instead of closing down the market.

“If there are positive cases in the vegetable section, then we will cordon off this area only for three days for sanitisation. We will not close the fish section as it is not fair to them,” he said. — DayakDaily