The Jakarta Post
The Religious Affairs Ministry has started to deliver aid to eight pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in West Java and Central Java whose students have tested positive for COVID-19.
“This is the first phase of aid distribution to these pesantren, where 861 students have contracted the coronavirus,” Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said in a statement on Friday.
The aid includes 38,000 medical face masks, 35,940 cloth masks, 1,825 bottles of hand sanitizer, 2,460 bottles of vitamins and 2,150 bottles of liquid handwashing soap.
“We also distributed disinfectant [liquid], fogging equipment, hand sanitizing liquid, honey and PPE [personal protective equipment],” Fachrul said.
He added that the ministry’s COVID-19 task force would continue distributing the aid to other pesantren nationwide, especially those that have been infected with the disease.
According to Religious Affairs Ministry data, 1,510 pesantren students and teachers have tested positive for COVID-19. Of them, 976 have recovered, while the remaining are still in treatment and isolation.
The minister said that the aforementioned aid was separate from the Bantuan Operasional Pesantren (Operational Aid for pesantren) program, which has been distributing financial support ranging from Rp 25 million (US$1,692) to Rp 50 million for COVID-19-stricken pesantren.
In total, the ministry has disbursed Rp 20 trillion under the program, he added.
Fachrul said he hoped all pesantren in the country continue to abide by health protocols to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“I request that all pesantren organize in-person learning based on the country’s COVID-19 health protocols. COVID-19 is a disaster, not a disgrace. Follow the health protocols for the sake of everyone’s wellbeing.”
A number of COVID-19 clusters have emerged at pesantren in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Central Java. As many as 200 students of the Quranic Studies Institute (PTIQ) in Cilandak, South Jakarta, have tested positive for COVID-19.
Authorities transported the students by bus to isolation facilities at the Kemayoran athletes village and Pademangan Tower in Central Jakarta, without notifying their parents, tribunnews.com reported on Oct. 5.
Meanwhile, in Yogyakarta, more than 100 students from two pesantren in Ngaglik and Prambanan have also contracted COVID-19.
A large number of COVID-19 cases were also detected at a pesantren in Banyumas, Central Java.
Separately, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said collaboration between the government, clerics and school management was necessary to contain COVID-19 clusters at pesantren. (nkn)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.