Indonesia's Medan defies the norm as country's Covid-19 cases hit almost 658,000


Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers hold signs urging residents to wear masks at the Merdeka Field in Medan, North Sumatra on June 28. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network

JAKARTA, Dec 19 (The Jakarta Post/ANN): The Medan administration in North Sumatra will proceed with Christmas and New Year celebrations while urging residents to avoid crowds despite a prohibition against crowd-pulling events from the provincial administration to curb soaring Covid-19 cases.

Medan administration official Renward Parapat, representing the city's acting mayor Akhyar Nasution in a cross-sectoral meeting on the year-end holidays recently, said the administration would help ensure that Christmas and New Year celebrations in the city would run smoothly and safely.

"This year's Christmas celebration must be carried out by following health protocols, given that the Covid-19 epidemic is still hitting Medan. We hope that such conditions won't lessen the solemnity of the celebration for the sake of everyone's safety," Renwardi said on the sidelines of the meeting at Medan Police headquarters.

Renward, however, has called on the public to refrain from joining crowds on New Year's Eve to prevent the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters that might result in a spike of cases in the city.

Deputy Medan Police chief Adj. Cmr. Irsan Sinuhaji, who was also present in the meeting, said that all concerned parties must focus on preventing Covid-19 transmission, including by preventing crowd-gathering events.

He said, consequently, there would be road closures and re-routing toward the Merdeka Field to prevent crowds forming in public places.

North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi said that there would not be any New Year celebrations in the province as he expressed the hope that those celebrating Christmas would still follow health protocols.

"As for Christmas, perform prayers with all their solemnity while still strictly following health protocols," Edy said.



Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced 7,751 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Saturday (Dec 19), bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 657,948.

According to data released by the ministry on Saturday, 145 more people have died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 19,659. The total number of recovered patients has also increased to 536,260.

The ministry reported that 41,914 people were tested on Saturday, bringing the total number of people tested to 4,507,874.

The capital city recorded 1,899 new confirmed cases, bringing the total tally to 161,519.

Meanwhile, West Java reported 1,132 new cases, Central Java 998, East Java 752, South Sulawesi 391, and Riau 372. The virus has spread to all of the country's 34 provinces. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network

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