KUCHING: The Sarawak Health Department has advised all Gawai Dayak celebrants to celebrate the festival only with their own families.
In a joint statement issued by Divisional Health Officer Betong, Dr Johnny Pangkas, Divisional Health Officer Kuching, Dr Eunice Melissa, Health Promotion Officer Kuching, Dr Gabriel Alexis and honorary consultant epidemiologist for the Sarawak government Prof Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu from Unimas’ Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences appealed to the public to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
These include no Gawai visiting (ngabang) and keeping away from gatherings in the common areas in the longhouses (ruai).
Any Gawai activities such as cock fighting (nyabung) are strictly prohibited.
In other words, to stop Covid-19 from spreading, the Gawai celebrants are advised to just stay at home and adhere to the SOPs announced by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) on May 24.
Under the SOPs, inter-district travel is banned also.
This year, many longhouses that had to be placed under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) because of Covid-19 infections.
Most of the longhouses clusters in Sarawak occurred because of poor compliance with the SOPs.
Among the contributing factors for the clusters were social gatherings, birthday celebrations, wedding events, funerals, cock-fighting events and inter-district movements.
The Sarawak Health Department wishes all Gawai celebrants a Happy Gawai Dayak and hopes they will follow the advices given to help reduce Covid-19 transmission.