Slow business in Sibu division


MOST businesses in Sibu Division are badly affected since the movement control order started on Jan 16.

Many eateries chose not to open due to fewer customers while those in operation experienced a 70% drop in business compared to a week earlier.

Very few people can be seen in supermarkets and town areas.

The state Disaster Management Committee had on Jan 14 put the districts of Sibu, Kanowit and Selangau under MCO due to soaring Covid-19 cases from the Pasai Cluster.

The coronavirus had spread from a 32-year-old woman who returned from Johor on Dec 29 after attending her father’s funeral. The cluster contributed to the 453 cases in Sibu district since Jan 15.

Sibu Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners Association chairman Tong Ing Kok feared its members’ businesses would nosedive over the next two weeks as they were allowed to offer only takeaways.

“Most coffeeshops experienced a 70% drop in business compared to a week ago. If more people are found Covid-19 positive, our business will get worse, ” he said.

Tong said people did not want to take the risk of going out now, even to pack food from eateries.

“People prefer to eat at home, while office workers bring food from home.

“They prefer not to go out unnecessarily for fear of being infected, ” he said, advising those packing food to strictly follow the SOP.

“Don’t forget to scan the code using the MySejahtera app. Also put on a face mask and wash your hands, ” he advised.

Separately, following the implementation of the MCO in Sibu Division, the screening centre at the foyer of the Sibu Indoor Stadium has been closed since Jan 16.

Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee in a statement said the move was to prevent the public from gathering at the place.

The drive-through testing at the Sarawak State Library in Sibu is open for close contact screening from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday.

The committee said those in close contact with Covid-19 patients or have symptoms such as fever, cough, flu and sore throat were advised to go for screening at the Covid-19 screening centre at Lanang Health Clinic or Sibu Jaya Health Clinic.

Screening time is from 8am to 4pm (Monday to Friday), with a break from 1pm to 2pm from Monday to Thursday and 11.45am to 2.15pm on Friday. On Saturday, the centre is open from 9am to noon.

Meanwhile, Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee in his video message to the public, advised Sibu Division residents to strictly abide by the SOPs during the MCO.

The reclassification of the division from being under conditional MCO to MCO, he said, was the right move following the sudden spike from the Pasai Cluster.

“If we fully comply with the SOPs during this two-week MCO, we will be able to reduce the number of new cases, ” he added.

From 37 positive cases detected on Jan 7 from the cluster, it had snowballed to 408 cases.

“This shows that the case increase warrants drastic action by the implementation of MCO, ” he said, adding that 90% of the cases were from longhouses.

Dr Annuar said the high number of cases reported was due to successful tracing of those who had close contact with the spreader.

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