Sarawak tightens Wesak Day SOP

A devotee prays outside the Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya on Wesak Day May 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A devotee prays outside the Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya on Wesak Day May 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUCHING, May 24 — The ritual of bathing the Buddha will not be allowed on Wesak Day as the standard operating procedures (SOP) are tightened to curb Covid-19 infections, said State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and Unit for Other Religions (Unifor).

SDMC and Unifor, in their updated SOP for Wesak Day during this conditional movement control order (CMCO), said temples in areas under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) would not be allowed to open on Wesak Day.

They said the various Divisional Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs) may amend the SOP for their respective divisions if the pandemic situation worsened.

This year’s Wesak Day falls on May 26.

Temples that will be allowed to open can do so only between 8am and 9am for committee members and members of Sangha only, limited to 20 persons.

SDMC and Unifor said the temple management committee must appoint at least two designated wardens or Rela personnel to ensure strict compliance with the SOP.

Apart from the preventive measures, SDMC and Unifor said individuals who are unwell or having symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, flu or breathing difficulties are not allowed into the temple.

 “Individuals suffering from chronic diseases, senior citizens and children aged 12 and below are not encouraged to go to the temple.”

Among the preventive measures are preparing counter for body temperature checking, use of hand sanitiser, attendance registration, mandatory use of face mask, maintaining at least 1m of physical distancing as well as avoid crowded places, confined spaces and close conversation.

All visitors are advised to avoid shaking hands or any other form of physical contacts, and immediately leave the temple once the religious activity is done.

On top of that, temple management committee is required to undertake scheduled sanitisation of the temple hall. — Borneo Post

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