Until an effective vaccine is found to fight this pandemic, we need to enhance our self-discipline to fight Covid-19.

– Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister

Stutong Community Market reopens to the public tomorrow. Are you among the members of public who welcome the news with great joy and look forward to shopping for your food there again?

The popular market was temporarily closed on July 18 after two positive Covid-19 cases were reported to have been traced from the market.

After the detection of the two cases, more than 200 vendors and staff working in the market were instructed to go for Covid-19 tests.

To prepare today’s reopening of the market, Kuching City South Council (MBKS) and the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) jointly carried out disinfection and sanitation works at the market yesterday.

The closing of the market for the past fortnight has badly affected the livelihood of the vendors there. This was pointed out recently by the chairman of Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) chairman Sim Kiang Chiok.

He added besides affecting the livelihoods of the traders and hawkers there, the closure of the Stutong Market had reminded Sarawakians to be vigilant against the virus.

Among those who rejoice at the reopening of the market today are, definitely the traders and hawkers concerned.

Even before the market reopens, Kuching South City Council has reminded the business owners to strictly adhere to the safety standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“For the public, please look after your personal hygiene, wear face masks when you are out in public places, practise social distancing, frequent hand washing, use hand sanitiser and avoid crowded places whenever possible,” it said.

Stutong Community Market at Tabuan Jaya is one of the more popular markets in Kuching City because on sale is a wide variety of food items including seafood, chicken, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, fruits and jungle produce. All these can be found in the stalls on the ground floor. On the top of the double-storey building is a vast food court.

Because I live quite near the market, I used to shop there. But I did not go there for three weeks, long before the detection of the positive Covid-19 cases there.

Although Stutong Community Market reopens today, I am not in a hurry to frequent it because my 83-year-old mother lives with me and there are young children among my family members. The very old and young, I understand, are more at risk from Covid-19.

Before the detection of the Sentosa Cluster, I used to visit Kota Sentosa, especially its wet market. Like Stutong Community Market, it sells a wide variety of food, fruits, meat and fish. Now, it is another place to avoid because of the fear of contacting the deadly virus.

Kuching district is currently the only Covid-19 red zone in Sarawak and Malaysia. The Ministry of Health has three categories of Covid-19 zones. Red zones are districts with at least 41 active Covid-19 cases, yellow zones have one to 40 cases while green zones have no active cases.

Yesterday, police began enforcing the ban on interzone travel in Sarawak by setting up roadblocks. The move was made following the detection of new Covid-19 cases in several districts in the state.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has decided to limit public movements between Zone 1 (red and yellow districts) and Zone 2 (green districts) from Aug 1 to 14. This means the public are not allowed to move from Zone 1 to Zone 2 and vice versa during this period. Currently, Zone 1 covers Kuching, Samarahan and Serian.

Exceptions allowed by SDMC are for those needing to travel for official duties, working as part of the essential services, deaths of immediate family members, those whose family members were seriously ill and because of health screening requirements.

Government employees on official duties must present letters of confirmation from their department heads. Essential service employees are also required to show confirmation letters from their companies or employers.

Yes, just when we thought that the Covid-19 pandemic would end soon, there was a sharp rise in local Covid-19 cases, causing fresh fears among many of us.

Because of the spike in the virus cases, SDMC has also postponed the reopening of primary and secondary schools in Kuching, Padawan and Samarahan from Aug 3 to Aug 17.

We, Sarawakians, are very fortunate to have a competent government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let us all comply with the SOPs which have been put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 and pray for a better, brighter and happier tomorrow.