State will do ‘whatever it takes’ to beat Covid-19, chief minister tells Sarawakians

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Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg speaks during a press conference on the enforcement of the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya, April 19, 2021. — Bernama pic
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg speaks during a press conference on the enforcement of the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya, April 19, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, May 31 — In his Gawai’s message today, Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg promised Sarawakians that the state government will strive hard to ensure that 2.08 million people eligible for Covid-19 vaccination will receive their shots by August.

He said the federal government has given approval for the state government to procure its own Covid-19 vaccines as well as allowing the private hospitals to participate in the national immunisation programme.

“As head of the state administration, I wish to assure that the state government will do whatever within our ability to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.

“As of this month, the state government has spent RM242 million for the purpose of managing Covid-19 pandemic,” he said, adding the money included the cost of quarantining persons under surveillance for Covid-19, food supply, logistics and medical equipment for use at the government hospitals and by the frontliners.

He added the amount does not include the RM3.1 billion allocated for the financial aid packages under Bantuan Khas Sarawakku 1.0 to 5.0 to reduce the burden of the people to the pandemic.

The chief minister reminded the Dayak community that in celebrating the Gawai, they must not forget about the importance of unity among the people of different racial and religious backgrounds.

“We have to work together towards unity. The culture of respecting one another is the foundation of unity in the state,” he said.

Abang Johari also appealed to the Dayaks who are working in other towns or in peninsular Malaysia and outside the country not to return to their longhouses to celebrate the festival.

He said the state government has banned inter-state and inter-zone crossings for security reasons such as to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections.

“I believe it is not a problem for us to stay at home, provided that we do not have any urgent matters to deal with outside.

“We ought to remember that Covid-19 clusters always happen through various social gatherings held in places or houses,” he said.

He asked the Dayaks to exercise extra care when they celebrate the Gawai and not to forget to comply with the standard operating procedures even when they are among their close family members, such as practice social distancing, wearing face masks, and not sharing cups, plates and bowls.

He added they should not also shake hands when greeting or hugging each other.

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