Ting, flanked by Miri District Officer Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf (left) and Tegas outreach programme manager Fredick Kevin Buseli showing the gesture that could replace handshakes for the time being.

MIRI: The public are told to avoid physical contact — such as shaking hands — and crowded places amid the Covid-19 outbreak, said Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting.

With nine positive Covid-19 cases recorded so far (as of March 14) in the state, Ting has urged the people to take extra precautionary measures.

“Perhaps we could replace handshakes with other gestures, such as putting our right hand on the left side of our chest whenever we greet people,” he suggested.

In response to a question whether the state government will postpone the annual Borneo Jazz Festival which is scheduled to be held in July this year, Ting replied, “The decision is the same — as announced by (Tourism, Arts, and Culture) Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah — all major tourism events with a gathering of more than 250 people are required to be postponed until further notice.”

Ting also expressed concerned on students’ wellbeing during this challenging period, asking if schools will be closed if the situation calls for it and that he has received text messages from concerned parents.

“The Education Ministry should address the matter and provide additional guidelines,” he said.

Ting was met yesterday during the 2020 Project of Dreams Realized (Pro-DR) Roadshow at a leading hotel here, organised by Tabung Ekonomi Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (Tegas).