Members of the public should reconsider decisions to travel to COVID-19 “green zones” despite the gradual reopening of tourism in such areas, an epidemiologist with the national COVID-19 task force has warned.
Dewi Nur Aisyah, an epidemiologist on the task force’s team of experts, said being designated a “green zone” did not mean that a place was completely safe from COVID-19.
“It only means that the area has a lower risk [of transmission] than yellow, orange or red zones,” Dewi said during an online discussion on Wednesday.
She added that residents living in areas designated orange or red zones should be cautious about taking trips to green zones to avoid spikes in imported cases.
“Although the government has allowed a phased reopening of natural tourist attractions in green and yellow zones, it doesn’t mean we can just go there. We need to be cautious to avoid imported cases, especially since new COVID-19 cases are still emerging nationwide,” said Dewi.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Doni Monardo, who also leads the national COVID-19 task force, announced on June 22 that natural tourism destinations would reopen in stages under strict health protocols. This included national parks, marine tourism locales, adventure tourism establishments and wildlife reserves.
Dewi said the task force would give a region two weeks to reevaluate or impose stricter measures if it found new COVID-19 cases after reopening tourist destinations.
"If the risk status does not change after two weeks, we’ll order the local administration to close tourist destinations,” she said.
As of Sunday, there were 104 regencies and cities designated green zones. Forty-three of them had recorded zero new cases over the past four weeks and had reported 100 percent recovery rates over the same period, said Dewi.
Meanwhile, 61 other regions have not yet been affected by the outbreak.
The list of regions and their risk categories can be accessed on the task force’s official website: covid19.go.id/peta-risiko.