SDMC chairman: Headmen risk fines if longhouse residents flout Covid-19 SOPs

Uggah said several headmen were fined RM2,000 each recently, because longhouse residents did not comply with the SOPs. ― Picture courtesy of Sarawak Information Department
Uggah said several headmen were fined RM2,000 each recently, because longhouse residents did not comply with the SOPs. ― Picture courtesy of Sarawak Information Department

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BETONG, July 25 — The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has warned headmen that they risk being fined if they fail to ensure the residents of their longhouses comply with Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said strict SOP adherence is crucial to avoid any further outbreaks in longhouses, especially as new Covid-19 strains, such as the more contagious Delta variant, are now present in the state.

“It is of utmost importance that the SOPs are observed at funeral gatherings especially, and other social activities that attract a crowd,” he said when declaring open a community policing workshop for 49 community leaders in Spaoh, near here, last night.

“In the case of any funeral wake, the longhouse chief concerned must inform the district office.

“This is to allow crowd control measures to be enforced, as such an occasion is a very fertile ground for the virus to spread like the notorious Pasai cluster, the biggest cluster in the state so far,” Uggah, who is also the deputy chief minister, stressed.

He added several headmen were fined RM2,000 each recently, because longhouse residents did not comply with the SOPs.

He said until now, 22 clusters had been triggered by funeral gatherings state-wide, culminating in 4,466 positive cases and 35 deaths.

He said although rural folks have largely been vaccinated, it is no excuse for complacency.

He then reiterated his call for those who are still hesitant to get vaccinated.

“Besides exposing themselves to the virus, they would be a source of exposure to others,” he added.

Uggah said they could also miss out once leeways for the fully vaccinated are announced by the federal government.

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