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Jakarta Post

Jokowi calls for caution amid concerns over COVID-19 case spike during long weekend

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 19, 2020   /   04:33 pm
Jokowi calls for caution amid concerns over COVID-19 case spike during long weekend President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo addresses an Indonesian Rectors Forum virtual conference on Saturday. (Presidential Press Bureau/Laily Rachev)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has urged all relevant stakeholders to take anticipatory measures amid concerns over a possible spike in COVID-19 cases across the country throughout the long stretch of national holidays later this month.

Jokowi said the upcoming long weekend – expected to begin with Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (maulid) on Oct. 29 and continue with collective leave days from Oct. 28 to 30, as well as the ensuing weekend – could potentially lead to an increase in COVID-19 transmission, given that holidaymakers often travel out of town.

“We experienced a moderate spike [in COVID-19 cases] half a month ago following long weekends,” he told his Cabinet members during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Monday.

The President referenced the record-high 1,114 new COVID-19 cases reported in Jakarta following the long weekends for Independence Day (Aug. 15 to 17) and the Islamic New Year (Aug. 20 to 23).

According to Jokowi, the country’s average rate of active COVID-19 cases stood at 17.69 percent as of Sunday – lower than the global average of 22.54 percent.

“I believe we need to keep improving [the active case rate] so that we may expect a downtrend in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia,” he added.

He also called on his subordinates to carefully lay out plans for the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccination, as well as to devise an efficient campaign for the process to ensure proper public education.

“Communication needs to be carefully prepared, especially in regard to who’s eligible for free vaccination and who has to [pay for it],” Jokowi said, emphasizing that clarity was of utmost importance to prevent public unease.

As of Monday, Indonesia had reported a total of 365,240 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 12,617 deaths.