SDMC: Funerals in Sarawak MCO areas can only be attended by closest family members, must disclose to police
Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas called on bereaved families for their understanding in complying with the SOPs. ― Borneo Post pic

KUCHING, Jan 23 — Attendance to funerals in Movement Control Order (MCO) areas are limited to only the closest family members and must be disclosed to the police.

This is among the details in the standard operating procedures (SOP) released by Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) today, for funerals in areas under MCO and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the state.

For funerals under CMCO areas, they can also only be attended by closest family members, with a limit of 50 persons at any one time for funeral wakes taking into account the size at the house or funeral parlour. Physical distancing of at least one metre is a must.

As for the ceremony at burial ground in CMCO areas, only a maximum of 30 people could be present, including closest family members and the people managing the burial.

For funerals in CMCO areas, other guidelines include discouraging children under 12 years old and high-risk groups from attending any funeral, and prohibiting those with symptoms like fever, cough, flu or have temperature about 37.5C from attending.

As for food distribution, it is to be done by packed food or served buffet only, while the sharing of plates, glasses and utensils are prohibited. Single-use items are encouraged.

Gambling activities like holo, card games and other similar activities are prohibited.

All must use face masks at all times and are encouraged to wash hands frequently with soap or hand sanitiser. They must not greet or touch each other physically.

Attendees have to fill in the attendance book or check in using MySejahtera application. They must avoid crowded and confined areas, and avoid talking at a close distance.

The roles of the house owner or funeral parlour management include preparing attendance book or QR code for MySejahtera scanning, allowing only one entry and a separate exit, and setting up a counter for taking temperatures of all who attends and to ensure everyone register themselves as well as to ensure all SOP are being complied with.

Deputy Chief Minister and SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, in his press conference on daily Covid-19 updates on Friday, informed that the SOP was released by the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) and Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department (Jais).

He called upon the bereaved families for their understanding in complying fully with this latest ruling, in view of funerals being ‘a sensitive and sentimental matter’ to them.

He acknowledged that in the event of someone’s death, it would be a common practice among many native communities of Sarawak to allow many relatives to come and pay their last respects, as well as join the bereaved families in prayer sessions.

“At this particular time and situation, the number of positive cases (in Sarawak) is in the three digits.

“There have been many cases originating from those attending these types of ceremonies.

“It is a very painful for SDMC to make this type of ruling, because we understand it (funeral ceremony) can be very, very sentimental (to the people).

“But under these circumstances, please try to understand us,” he said. — Borneo Post Online