Indonesia: Govt advises people not to leave town for long weekend


Virtual explorer: The National Museum's virtual tour allows visitors to tour the space from their computer screens. - The Indonesian National Museum - Jakarta Post - Asian News Network

JAKARTA, Oct 26 (The Jakarta Post/ANN): The public has been encouraged not to leave town for the upcoming long weekend on Oct 28 to Nov 1 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the safest ways to spend the holiday is taking a virtual tour from the comfort of your own home.

“People are getting really creative now with the advancement of technology, we can take advantage of that,” Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

He said many Jakartans spent their holidays in Puncak, Bogor, Anyer or Bandung. However amid the pandemic, he called on people to take extra precautions when outside their homes.

Separately, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi predicted there would be an up to 20 percent increase in vehicle movements during the long weekend.

Therefore, spending your holidays at home is the safest choice.

He said if people had to leave their home, he encouraged them to follow health protocols and to arrange that their travels accordingly.

“We predict the peak outflow of vehicles will be on Oct 28. Therefore, we advise people to avoid traveling on that day so there will not be overcrowding that has the potential to cause transmission clusters,” Budi said.

According to data from the national Covid-19 task force, the Idul Fitri break from May 22 to 25 and the long weekend to commemorate Independence Day in August were associated with spikes in Covid-19 cases.

Over Idul Fitri, there was a 69 to 93 per cent increase in weekly cumulative cases in 10 to 14 days, while the Independence Day extended weekend saw an increase of 58 to 118 per cent within 10 to 14 days.

Previously, the task force’s spokesperson, Wiku Adisasmito, encouraged people to spend the upcoming long weekend at home to help prevent a spike in Covid-19 infections.

He quoted a study by Anson Zhou from the University of Wisconsin in the United States that stated reducing mobility by 20 per cent within the city had a notable effect on controlling the spread of Covid-19, flattening the peak number of cases by 33 per cent and delaying to the peak by two weeks.

Moreover, a 40 per cent reduction in mobility could reduce cases by 66 per cent and delay the peak by four weeks.

Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Griffith University, also warned that the upcoming long weekend would pose another test for Indonesia’s Covid-19 mitigation efforts, as holiday periods were associated with an increase in Covid-19 infections. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network
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