TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A decision on whether spectators will be allowed at the Papua National Sports Week (PON) XX will be taken during a cabinet meeting with President Joko Widodo next week, according to Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali.
The government and the organizing committee are currently reviewing the possibility of letting spectators attend the national event, he said.
While making the decision, vaccination coverage in the four Papua PON XX clusters will be taken into account, he informed.
"We are currently assessing the plan as it requires the community to be vaccinated. Hence, the President has asked to immediately expedite the COVID-19 vaccinations -- especially in the four clusters. It will also affect the decision," Amali said at a virtual press conference here on Saturday.
"Hopefully, it will be resolved at the cabinet meeting next week. If the spectators are allowed to attend, we need to consider the percentage of their presence and apply strict requirements to them," he continued.
According to data provided by the Papua Provincial Health Office, as of September 2021, the average coverage for the first vaccine dose in the sports clusters has exceeded 50 percent, while the coverage of the second dose has topped 30 percent.
Meanwhile, although the opening ceremony of the event is still two weeks away, a number of provincial contingents have already begun to arrive in Papua as test events will be held for some sports ahead of the national sporting event, the minister noted.
Moreover, several sports matches will take place before the opening ceremony – such as the men's softball, water polo, baseball, paragliding, and wushu, he said.
In addition, there are exhibition sports comprising esports, triathlon, surfing, hapkido, kickboxing, and kabaddi.
Furthermore, the minister informed that President Joko Widodo is expected to directly open the national games on October 2, 2021.
"Thus, do not worry. Papua is ready to hold the games. In addition, the national event is the pride and dignity of the Papuan people," he added.