By Emma Victoria
EXPRESS and regional bus services in Sarawak will only resume operations after June 1 to ensure that there is no movement from the city to the villages and longhouses during the upcoming Hari Raya and Hari Gawai festives.
State Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said this is to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak.
“We also want to minimise physical contact between people from different districts,” he said.
Therefore, the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee has decided to only allow the express and regional bus services to resume business after Hari Raya and Hari Gawai, which falls on May 24 and June 1, respectively.
Express and regional buses are among the most preferred and feasible way to “balik kampung” in Sarawak, especially those who wanted to return to their village or longhouse in the rural areas.
Each year, the tickets are usually sold out weeks before the festive seasons while bus companies would have to increase their daily trips to meet the demand.
Lee said the concerted action taken by the state government with the full cooperation from stakeholders including the express and regional bus operators had borne encouraging results as there were no new reported cases in Sarawak in the past four days.
During this period, it is advisable for all bus operators to make the necessary preparations based on the established Standard Operating Procedures before resuming their services, he said in a statement today.
These include sanitising their buses, taking swab test for their drivers, reorganising seating arrangements in the buses for social distancing purposes and getting ready other apparatus such as handheld thermometer, hand sanitizer and face mask.
These steps are taken to protect everyone especially the bus drivers and passengers in the effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Sarawak, he added.