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Monday, 01 November 2021 13:04

To prevent Covid-19 spike at the end of the year

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Christmas and New Year's holidays are still less than two months away. However, the Indonesian government has begun to urge people, especially those living in the cities, not to travel to their hometowns as customary at the end of this year. This is to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases after the 2021 Christmas and 2022 New Year holidays. The government also controls community mobility and tightens health protocols.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy stated last week that the collective leave which is usually applied on days close to official holidays, such as Christmas, New Year or Eid al-Fitr this time will be abolished, including the day before Christmas, which is Friday, December 24, 2021. The abolition of collective leave is to limit the mobility of people, which usually increases towards the year-end holidays. The goal is to reduce the potential for the spread of Covid-19. Moreover, a number of epidemiologists have warned about the possibility of a third wave of Covid-19 attacks.

To prevent an increase in positive cases of Covid-19, the Ministry of Transportation through the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, issued the latest rules regarding the requirements for boarding a plane. For flights on Java-Bali, passengers are required to show a vaccine card (minimum first dose) and negative Covid-19 information via RT-PCR (maximum sample 3x24 hours), before departure. Meanwhile, outside Java, the requirements are also the same.

Some regional governments even enforce an odd-even system policy for private-vehicle numbers to limit people's movement.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indeed lowered the level of Covid-19 for Indonesia. After being judged to have succeeded in carrying out good Covid-19 control, Indonesia was given a Level 1 or "low for Covid-19 transmission". However, this does not mean that Indonesia is completely free from the pandemic. Neither the government nor the public should be careless about the transmission of the virus. Experience shows that Indonesia always experienced an increase in the number of Covid-19 spreads at the end of the long holiday period. The August 2020 holiday season, for example, resulted in an increase in cases of up to 119% and the weekly death rate to 57%. Meanwhile, in May-June 2021, Indonesia endured the Covid-19 wave due to a combination of delta variant factors and neglected health protocols during the long Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Currently, a number of countries, including the UK and Singapore, are experiencing an increase in daily cases.

So, it is very natural for the Indonesian government to issue various policies to prevent any potential return of the Covid-19 storm, especially ahead of the long Christmas 2021 and 2022 New Year holidays.

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