Sleman regency is one of five regencies/cities in Yogyakarta with red zone status in all of its subdistricts.
Therefore, the regental administration has prepared some measures to prevent COVID-19 case spikes following the year-end holidays, especially as most of its tourist destinations are open during the upcoming long weekend.
“We have set a program called ‘weeks of silence’, where we will focus on COVID-19 tracing after the Christmas and New Year holidays,” Sleman Health Agency head Joko Hastaryo said on Saturday as quoted by tempo.co.
The policy is expected to start on Jan. 4, 2021 and finish 10 days later.
Joko said the new policy was different to the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) implemented by capital Jakarta. The new policy was similar to a certain arrangement in Yogyakarta during the early stages of the pandemic, he added.
The policy orders healthy citizens to quarantine, while those who are COVID-19 positive will have to be isolated at hospitals or other facilities provided by the government.
Residents who are allowed to work are those working for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, the local health agency, Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police (Polri) as well as railway stations, bus terminals and airports.
“Those who are working in other fields will have to work from home,” said Joko.
Apart from the aforementioned restrictions, the administration would also try to stop activities in schools, prayer houses and other public facilities during that period, he added. “If it is not an emergency, we suggest you avoid working from the office and taking a trip out of town.”
Joko said the new policy had been thoroughly studied, based on the administration’s experience in a previous long weekend in October.
“We predict tourists will come to our region anyway during year-end holidays,” said Joko, adding that the post-holiday policy would be effective as the administration would not randomly rapid test visitors at tourist spots.
Yogyakarta deputy mayor Heroe Poerwadi said favorite tourist destination Malioboro would apply zoning during New Year celebrations to avoid crowds. “In Malioboro, we will limit each zone to a maximum of 500 people,” he added.
Beds for COVID-19 patients at hospitals in Yogyakarta, one of the country’s top tourist and education destinations, had almost reached full capacity on Oct. 31 following a continuous increase in confirmed cases over the previous few weeks.
The province saw its daily average surge to 70 new cases in November compared to a daily average of 38 new cases in October.
The Yogyakarta Health Agency said the province had readied 463 total beds for COVID-19 patients at 27 referral hospitals. The beds are provided in 49 critical care units equipped with ventilators and 414 non-critical care units.
As of Dec. 1, 95 percent of all available beds for treating COVID-19 patients, or 442, were occupied. This left only 21 beds in the province for new patients, comprising eight beds in critical care units and 13 beds in non-critical care units. (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.