SDMC: Big no to holding social activities, gatherings in villages, longhouses in Sarawak

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said for CMCO areas, only a maximum of 50 people would be allowed to attend a funeral wake, with only a maximum of 30 people could be present at the ceremony on the burial ground. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said for CMCO areas, only a maximum of 50 people would be allowed to attend a funeral wake, with only a maximum of 30 people could be present at the ceremony on the burial ground. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)

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KUCHING, Jan 23 — All social activities and gatherings in villages and longhouses across Sarawak are not allowed for now, following the recent surge in positive Covid-19 cases.

According to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, this decision was reached during the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)’s meeting yesterday, with the directive taking effect immediately and would remain in force until further notice.

Uggah, who is also SDMC chairman, said the committee had tightened the standard operating procedures (SOP) for funerals in areas under movement control order (MCO) and conditional movement control order (CMCO) in the state.

He said for CMCO areas, only a maximum of 50 people would be allowed to attend a funeral wake, with only a maximum of 30 people could be present at the ceremony on the burial ground.

“For funerals in MCO areas, only the closest family members are allowed to attend both ceremonies (wake and burial).

“The SOP is released by the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) and Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department (Jais),” said Uggah during the Covid-19 update here yesterday.

In this respect, he also called upon the bereaved families for their understanding in complying fully with this latest ruling, in view of funerals being ‘a sensitive and sentimental matter’ to them.

He acknowledged that in the event of someone’s death, it would be a common practice among many native communities of Sarawak to allow many relatives to come and pay their last respects, as well as join the bereaved families in prayer sessions.

“At this particular time and situation, the number of positive cases (in Sarawak) is in the three digits.

“There have been many cases originating from those attending these types of ceremonies.

“It is a very painful for SDMC to make this type of ruling, because we understand it (funeral ceremony) can be very, very sentimental (to the people).

“But under these circumstances, please try to understand us,” he said.

The recent spikes in the number of positive Covid-19 cases in Sarawak  —  from single-digit previously to three digits now, could be mainly attributed to the Pasai Siong Cluster in Sibu.

This cluster was reported to have emerged from a funeral ceremony at one of the longhouses in Pasai Siong, with the index case identified as a woman who had returned home from Johor on Dec 29 last year. — Borneo Post Online

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