Preparations for Gawai events hit


Gawai Dayak festival is a month-long celebration starting June 1.

MIRI: Public preparations for the coming Sarawak Gawai Dayak festival have been cancelled.

This follows the sudden surge in Covid-19 positive cases and spike in suspected cases statewide.

Persatuan Gagasan Anak Dayak Sarawak (GADS) – a big Iban organisation handling the events – said it will abort all its programmes for Gawai here in Miri.

Its president, Vicky Shandom, announced this at a press conference.

She said preparations for the launching ceremony for the Gawai Bazaar slated for this month in Miri city and the Gawai Bazaar proper in May in Kuala Baram district have been cancelled with immediate effect.

“In response to the advice from both federal and state authorities over the current Covid-19 outbreak, GADS is taking appropriate measures to cancel these events to prevent the spread of infections,” she said.

Out of the three million-plus population in Sarawak, about one million are Dayaks.

Gawai Dayak festival is a one-month long celebration starting on June 1 but preparations such as public fund-raising gatherings and food bazaars start a few months ahead.

Shandom said her association had also met with the health authorities and GADS agreed on the need for drastic measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.

All events organised by the Sarawak state government that involves public gatherings have already been deferred.

The State Disaster Relief Management Committee issued a directive on this.

“Any government events that involved more than 50 people at a time are cancelled with immediate effect.

“This is due to the surge in Covid-19 infections being experienced in the state now,” said the committee.

In Kuching, Bernama reports that the investiture ceremony scheduled for March 25 has been postponed until further notice due to the Covid-19 situation.

Senior private secretary to the Yang Dipertua Negri of Sarawak Datuk Mustapa Han said the postponement complies with a directive of the State Disaster Management Committee.

“The rehearsal (for the investiture) scheduled for March 24 is also cancelled,” he said.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the imposition of a two-week nationwide Movement Control Order to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg had earlier announced that all foreign and domestic visitors coming into the state, as well as Sarawakians returning home, will be issued a 14-day stay home notice (SHN).

Also, all childcare centres, kindergartens, tahfiz schools in Sarawak have been instructed to close for two weeks.

Institutions of higher education, both government and private, were ordered to defer their new academic session by two weeks, while all schools were directed to extend their school holidays for another week, until March 29, he said.

The state has seen a drastic surge in Covid-19 cases with 45 so far in Kuching, Miri, Bintulu, Sarikei and Limbang, with one death.

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