By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |
Most weekend Punjabi classes in Malaysia will most probably be cancelled for the rest of the month while some gurdwaras are starting to scrap regular programmes in the wake of the novel coronavirus fear.
The Punjabi Education Centres (PECs) nationwide, run by the Punjabi language arm of the Khalsa Diwan Malaysia (KDM), have been advised to cancel the remaining classes for March.
“The PECs can use their discretion if the need / situation warrants thereafter,” according to an advisory sent out to the 42 centres nationwide which cater to some 2,500 students. They attend regular weekend classes usually conducted at their nearest local gurdwaras.
This was in line with Malaysia’s health ministry’s directive to postpone all mass gatherings to minimise the spread of Covid-19. Public schools have cancelled sporting events and co-curriculum activities for March until further notice.
Gurdwaras in Malaysia have also started cancelling regular diwans but are leaving it individuals and families to decide on sponsored programmes.
In an update today, Kuala Lumpur-based Gurdwara Sahib Tatt Khalsa Diwan has announced that all gurdwara-sponsored congregational programmes, though daily prayers will proceed as usual and the darbar sahib (prayer hall) will remain open.
The Petaling Jaya gurdwara has cancelled all programmes until Wednesday (18 March) as a close relative of one of its staff was hospitalised for suspected Covid-19. See here.
Across the causeway in Singapore, gurdwaras are proceeding with programmes as usual, though they have instituted some screening measures. See here.
As the World Health Organisation (WHO) declares the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, governments around the world are beginning to put in place measures to contain the spread of the virus which does not yet have a vacine.
Medical teams and researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine for virus which has sickened more than 127,000, with health experts expecting a vaccine in 12 to 24 months time.
Gurwaras the world over will be faced with the decision as to whether they will proceed with programmes for Vaisakhi next month, which usually draws large crowds.
PJ gurdwara suspends programmes for Covid-19 (Asia Samachar, 13 March 2020)
Coronavirus: Singapore gurdwaras to live-stream for sick, elderly (Asia Samachar, 12 March 2020)