With Deepavali around the corner, the National Security Council (MKN) has released the official standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the people to follow, in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SOPs differ for places that are under the Conditional Movement Order (CMCO), Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), as well as Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

Below are the rules, in brief:

For temples in RMCO and CMCO areas

Prayers are only allowed on the first day of Deepavali, which falls on Nov 14. The temple management must place a counter at the entrance to screen the devotees' temperature, and symptoms such as cough, and sore throat, among otheres.

Visitors must record their attendance at temples, either manually, or via the MySejahtera app. The elderly, children aged below 12, and those with chronic diseases are discouraged from visiting the temple.

Prayers are to be conducted from 7am and 12 only - divided into five sessions, and with a maximum of 30 people in attendance for each session. A 30-minute gap is to be given between each session to allow sanitition to take place.

Sweet and other savoury items are to be pre-packed and given to devotees, so that they can disperse after their session is over.

Celebrations at home

Those living in landed property are allowed to host up to 20 close family members at a given time.

As for those living in high-rise apartments or condominiums, the attendance are capped according to the size of the house.

Those holding a celebration at a unit sized below 1,500 square feet can only host a maximum of 10 people at a time, while for those living in units bigger than 1,500 square feet, they can have 15 visitors at one time.

However, visitors and hosts alike are encouraged to follow SOPs, such as wearing face masks, maintaining physical distancing, washing hands and using hand sanitizer at all times.

Cross disctrict and state borders travel is strictly prohibited for areas that fall under the CMCO, such as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Sabah, and also Seremban, among others.

EMCO areas

The SOPs are stricter for people living under the EMCO-enforced areas.

They must observe Deepavali prayers at home only, and that too, for members of the same household.

They cannot host any visitors, and no "balik kampung" is allowed.

As difficult as it may sound to observe these SOPs, it is best to practice them nonetheless, to stem the spread of the killer coronavirus outbreak.

As of Thursday afternoon, a total of 36,343 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the country, with 277 deaths.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 49 million people and killed 1.2 million.


Photo source: Astro Awani