Abdul Karim (centre) speaks to reporters at a press conference at his office in Baitul Makmur building, Kuching.

KUCHING: All upcoming events in the Sarawak Tourism Calendar 2020 are to be postponed in view of the recent Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak that is happening in the state.

Yesterday (Mar 13), the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) issued an advisory to have all government and public gatherings involving more than 250 participants to be postponed to a later date.

In view of that, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister cum Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah stated that his ministries will adhere to the latest decision of the SDMC.

“We have to abide by the state’s directive, and we are postponing all those events until further notice. Those events will not be canceled but are just being postponed until the situation gets better.

“We do hope that the virus will subside in one or two months (April and May),” he said, adding that the government does not like to see Kuching without any event.

“If it subsides by the following month (June), then the event’s organising committee handling the events in that month are hoped to be able to proceed with their respective events.”

He further said that the difficult decision has to be made as public health in Sarawak is the top priority during this global Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture as well as the Ministry of Youth and Sports will review the situation closely from time to time and keep the organisers and the public informed,” he said to reporters in a press conference at Baitulmakmur Building here yesterday.

Some of the major international events affected are Rainforest World Music Festival Fringe (RWMFF), Rainforest In The City (RITC), 19th Borneo Island International Big Bikes Festival (BIIBBF) and the Spartan Race.

Others affected include local events and school-related events such as Jelajah Belia Sarawak 2020 and 30 business events.

Also present at the press conference were the Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Youth and Sports Ministry permanent secretary Nancy Jolhi as well as Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee.