UNIFOR releases new SOPs for Sarawak Recovery Phase 2

Chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) Archbishop Simon Poh, has expressed appreciation to UNIFOR for the new SOPs that will allow h

Jul 26, 2021

Archbishop Simon Poh. (file photo)

By Ivy Chai
Chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) Archbishop Simon Poh, has expressed appreciation to UNIFOR for the new SOPs that will allow houses of worship and churches to reopen their doors to their congregations.

However, after consultation with the ACS heads of churches, the general consensus is “to be cautious and the need to be prudent before opening our church as soon as this weekend, especially in Kuching where the infection cases have been increasing and reaching 184 according to Friday’s report. We are also aware that this could be the Delta variant of the infection that has now been detected in Sarawak,” the Archbishop informed the media on 23 July.

Areas under EMCO have been urged to delay their reopening “because of common social circles of contact by people in those affected areas.”

Archbishop Simon noted that since the MCO in June and the current push to expedite vaccinations, we are seeing a slow flattening of the infection curve. He feels “it is important that we do not undo the months of sacrifices we have made to contain this wave.”

All houses of worship to maintain safety SOP
The Archbishop continued: “As the COVID-19 virus infects any human person without concern for culture, race, faith or social status, it is important that we, as the people of Sarawak and especially in all houses of worship – cathedrals, churches, temples, mosques, suraus and other religious centres – be of one mind and heart, maintaining the safety SOP for our worship – especially when our houses of worship are gathering points for our respective followers who come from different locations in a city, town or surrounding villages. And every family have their own social circles of contact. Let us work together for the common good of all as we seek to contain the current wave.”

Archbishop Simon also encouraged all religious leaders to continue to pray and suggested that respective congregations can “even be centres of mercy and compassion as we donate and procure food aid to be distributed to urban families or those in the rural villages who are in need. Thus, while we may be struggling ourselves, let us live simply and we can contribute any surplus that we have to help one another who are in worse situations than us. When everyone gives a helping hand and contributes a little, we make the world a kinder place, by offering hope and immediate relief to those who are suffering.”  

“I exhort all Christians and people of goodwill to respond in kindness and generosity. Together we can make a difference for those in need. As we have just celebrated Sarawak Day, let our unity and harmony witness who we are as people of Sarawak. May God bless, protect and deliver us from this pandemic. Amen.”

Churches in the Archdiocese of Kuching
As for the Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching, Archbishop Simon says most priests concur with him, that in view of the uncertainty of the Delta variant detected in Sarawak, the churches will use the week ahead to update the existing SOPs and in-house revision and training for the worship and service teams, before reopening.

“Ultimately, the health and safety of our people are our priority which will also contribute to the general safety for all the people of Sarawak,” he concluded.--Todayscatholic

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