BETONG: Village and longhouse chiefs in rural areas in Sarawak must register all outsiders attending any weddings or funerals in their areas, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today.
He said he agreed with the suggestion made by Layar state assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu for such registration in view that the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to end in the state.
“We always have large crowds at these events and some come from outside, others from neighbouring longhouses or villages. Physical distancing can be hard to implement, and if any of the visitors are infected, have the sickness, it can spread fast. So we need to be proactive as the pandemic is still with us,” he said.
Speaking at the launching of the Community Policing Workshop for the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) here, Uggah, who is also the chairman of the State Disaster Management Committee, said by registering the visitors, contact tracing would be easy should the need arise.
“This is also part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) practised in cities and towns, proven to be very useful when the medical department needs to engage with all those who came into contact with a COVID-19 positive person,” he said.
Uggah also advised the rural folks to continue observing all SOPs and guidelines to protect themselves.
He urged longhouse and village chiefs to direct their respective JKKKs to monitor SOP compliance as they serve as the last line of defence in these areas.
He said 23 workshops would be held until mid-September for 660 JKKKs from various districts and sub-districts in the division, involving some 3,300 participants.