Indonesia Braces for Potential COVID-19 Surge in New Year, Christmas Holidays

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.  REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

    Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Java-Bali public mobility restriction or PPKM coordinator, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said the government was aware of the potential surge in COVID-19 cases during Christmas and New Year holidays.

    Reflecting on the previous momentum, Luhut acknowledged that the rampant spread of coronavirus often occurred after long holidays and religious events.

    “The President asked for strategies [against COVID-19] for Christmas and the New Year,” said Luhut in a virtual press conference on the PPKM evaluation on Monday, October 11.

    As a precautionary measure, Luhut explained, the government needed to accelerate vaccinations for the elderly or people categorized in vulnerable groups in agglomeration areas and centers of economic growth.

    The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment cited an example, COVID-19 vaccination for the elderly in Gianyar Regency of Bali only reached 38 percent of the target. The government is determined to push the coverage to 40 percent by this week.

    In addition, Luhut said the number of hospitalized patients needed to be suppressed. President Jokowi asked ministers to maintain the trend in decreasing COVID-19 numbers.

    “To prevent [this pandemic from] getting out of control, [we need to] keep case numbers as low as possible consistently,” Luhut said. He also appealed to the public not to lower their guard following the current improving conditions and be overjoyed over the decline in COVID-19 cases.

    Read: Jakarta Predicts Third Wave of COVID-19 to Hit in December 2021

    FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA