The Jakarta Post
Brebes Regent Idza Priyanti’s entourage, which accompanied her to several areas of East Java from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10, has contributed at least 36 new COVID-19 cases to the region.
Idza was accompanied by a number of administration officials on a visit to Malang, East Java, and the nearby Mt. Bromo by bus.
After returning to Brebes, Central Java, Idza’s husband, who took part in the trip, was found to have COVID-19. Dozens of members of the entourage were also declared COVID-19 positive after contact tracing. Nevertheless, some others on the trip, including two of Idza’s children and a driver, were free of the virus.
Of the 36 people who contracted COVID-19, 34 were reportedly in 14-day self-isolation, while two others were being treated at the Brebes General Hospital (RSUD).
“The regent has taken swab tests five times, and they all came out negative,” Brebes Health Agency head Sartono said on Saturday as quoted by kompas.id.
He added that the transmission might have occurred on the bus.
“They spent time doing karaoke on the bus. People usually take off their masks when doing karaoke, and they tend to walk around. So there were droplets, and the bus was a closed-off area,” he added.
Sartono acknowledged the importance of travel for work but said health protocols had to be followed at all times. The agency, he added, had produced a video outlining guidelines for safe travel during the pandemic.
“It is important to always have screening tests, like rapid testing, for such a road trip. Next, disinfect the bus prior to hitting the road and make sure that it is only filled to half capacity. Take a rest while you are on the road – no karaoke sessions,” he said.
Previously, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo warned civil servants to be extra careful while on work trips. The governor said he would not forbid such trips but suggested that civil servants reduce their frequency.
“If they want to go on a picnic with their family, please do so but maybe to destinations nearby. Or maybe they need to join a seminar on Mt. Bromo. Go ahead. But I don’t think you go for seminars on Mt. Bromo,” he said. “Therefore, to all civil servants especially, please restrain yourselves.”
On Monday, Central Java saw 1,958 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours for a cumulative 55,803 cases. Central Java is the province with the third-most confirmed cases in the country, after Jakarta and East Java. (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.