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Source: Hong Kong Government special administrative region

Grave sweepers urged to stagger grave-sweeping activities over wider period before and after Chung Yeung Festival
Grave sweepers urged to stagger grave-sweeping activities over wider period before and after Chung Yeung Festival
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     To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) today (October 2) appealed to members of the public to stagger grave-sweeping activities over a wider period before and after the Chung Yeung Festival (October 25), to avoid grave sweeping during the peak period on the day of the Chung Yeung Festival so as to avoid overcrowding, which might increase the risk of disease transmission.     A spokesman for the FEHD urged people visiting cemeteries and columbaria paying respect to ancestors during the festival to avoid meal gatherings at worship sites or in crowded places. They are also urged to maintain appropriate social distancing with other people as far as possible, comply with relevant regulations on prevention and control of disease, maintain good personal hygiene and keep the environment clean when sweeping graves.     The spokesman said, “The opening hours of public columbaria under the FEHD will be extended to 7am to 7pm two weeks before and after the Chung Yeung Festival (the period between October 10 to November 8) to lessen crowd conditions. The FEHD will provide special cleaning services such as disinfection of handrails and lift buttons inside public cemeteries and columbaria during the festival period, and deploy more staff to clear undergrowth and remove rubbish, and empty bottles and containers left behind by grave sweepers. We will also remove water in containers and incense burners, and level the ground surface to prevent accumulation of water. Furthermore, additional litter bins and toilet facilities will be provided.”     The spokesman urged the public to co-operate by clearing stagnant water and rubbish before leaving to prevent mosquito breeding. Containers such as lunch boxes, drink cans, plastic bags and buckets for burning incense should also be removed. As a precaution against mosquitoes, grave sweepers are advised to wear light-coloured long-sleeved tops and trousers, and apply insect repellent to exposed parts of their body.     The FEHD has also advised managers of private cemeteries to take similar precautions against mosquitoes.     To protect the environment and to prevent hill fires, members of the public are encouraged to replace incense burning with flowers when paying tribute to their ancestors. Grave sweepers should take extra care when burning incense, which should only be carried out inside a designated joss paper furnace or iron bucket. They should make sure that all fires have gone out before leaving. Grave sweepers are also reminded to keep flammable items (such as alcohol antiseptic sprays and alcohol-based instant hand sanitisers) away from fires.     The Government has been promoting green burials, and the FEHD has set up the Internet Memorial Service webpage (www.memorial.gov.hk) and its mobile application for members of the public to pay tribute to their deceased beloved ones anywhere and anytime.     The spokesman also urged the public to pay attention to special traffic and transport arrangements which will be implemented during the Chung Yeung Festival. Access to cemeteries and columbaria of the FEHD will be closed to all vehicles while the special traffic and transport arrangements are in operation, except for those with permission. The spokesman reminded the public that on Saturdays, Sundays and the public holiday of the two weeks before and after Chung Yeung Festival, Nim Wan Road to Tsang Tsui Columbarium will be closed. Grave sweepers are not allowed to walk, drive or take a taxi to Tsang Tsui Columbarium, and they have to take the KMB special route 56S plying between MTR Tuen Mun Station and Tsang Tsui Columbarium.     For details of the special traffic and transport arrangements in the vicinity of cemeteries and crematoria during the Chung Yeung Festival, please visit the Transport Department website (www.td.gov.hk).

 
Ends/Friday, October 2, 2020Issued at HKT 16:00

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