The Jakarta Post
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has suggested that the central government reduce the number of collective leave days set for the Christmas and New Year break and instead shorten the year-end holiday to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The government had canceled the collective leave days allocated for Idul Fitri this year because of the pandemic, tacking them on to the end of the year to make up for the lost days off.
The governor emphasized, however, that this time, the government should reduce the number of collective leave days instead of removing them altogether.
“I’m leaning toward reducing [the collective leave days],” he said on Saturday.
He said canceling the year-end long holiday would hit the economy, but conceded that he feared the prolonged break, scheduled to run from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1, 2021, could lead to a spike in new COVID-19 cases — such as what happened after the long weekends of August and October.
“It would be really hard for us to handle.”
The 11-day year-end break will comprise the usual two-day Christmas holiday on Dec. 24 and 25, then the Nov. 26 and 27 weekend, followed by the lost collective leave days of Idul Fitri, from Dec. 28 to 31, New Year’s Day and then the weekend of Jan. 2 and 3, 2021.
Ridwan pointed out that following the October long weekend, the West Java COVID-19 task force conducted rapid tests on 1,500 visitors of various tourist destinations in the province and found that 400 people were reactive to the novel coronavirus. Follow-up swab testing showed that 10 were positive for COVID-19.
“We didn’t see as many cases from the October long weekend than from the one in August. But yes, we saw a spike in confirmed cases, but the public's compliance with wearing masks, washing their hands and physical distancing was also better,” he added.
But the figures have shown differently, with the West Java COVID-19 Information and Coordination Center’s (Pikobar) data revealing that as of October, the total tally of COVID-19 infections in the province had reached 14,133, with a daily average increase of 456 cases.
As of Saturday, West Java has recorded 15,250 infections, with a daily average increase of 544 cases.
Ridwan said 70 percent of new COVID-19 cases in West Java came from Bogor, Depok and Bekasi, which are satellites to the country’s virus epicenter, Jakarta.
Previously, President Joko “Jokowi’ Widodo instructed his subordinates to cut the 2020 year-end holiday short to curb COVID-19 transmission, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy revealed at a press conference after attending a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 23.
“The President has requested a reduction [in collective leave days] in regard to the year-end holiday, including the substitute leave days for Idul Fitri,” Muhadjir said as quoted by tribunnews.com. (adi)
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.