Police: Follow SOP to cut down on longhouse infections

COVID-19 continues to spread in Sibu longhouses, mainly due to the customary way of life at these dwellings.

Sibu OCPD Asst Comm Stanley Jonathan Ringgit said the authorities were facing challenges in enforcing the standard operating procedure (SOP) there.

“It is not easy to monitor the movement of residents in a longhouse, ” he said when met at Sibu central police station.

Enforcement personnel stationed at longhouses under lockdown only monitor the situation from outside.

ACP Stanley likened compliance with SOP amid the pandemic to fastening one’s seat belt.

“Often, people will only buckle up when they see the police, ” he said and appealed to longhouse residents to comply with the SOP and not only do so when enforcement personnel were present.

He noted that there were still a number of longhouses in Sibu, Kanowit and Selangau under enhanced movement control order.

At one time, more than 50 longhouses in Sibu district were under lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in hotels in Sibu enjoying good occupancy rates.

Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association vice-chairman Lang Jai Lee said most of these hotels were being used as quarantine centres.

“On average, the occupancy rate is between 60% and 70%.

“For smaller hotels with not many rooms, it is up to 90%.”

Lang, who is a general manager of a hotel, said each occupant would stay for a minimum of 10 days and maximum of two weeks.

He also corrected the misconception that once a hotel was used as a Covid-19 quarantine centre, chances of people getting the virus there were high.

“After checkout, the room is sanitised followed by general cleaning.”

However, he said the hotels’ food and catering businesses were not doing well.

“We are only allowed to do takeaway and the public tends to avoid hotels, which are used as quarantine centres, ” he noted.

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