"I see crowding at traditional markets owing to people venturing out to buy goods ahead of Idul Fitri. I want to ensure that the people follow the practice of physical distancing and wear masks. Officers should constantly remind the public to constantly adhere to health protocols," President Widodo stated at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday.
President Widodo made the remarks during a limited meeting themed "Preparation of Idul Fitri 1441 H" in which the participants comprised Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, ministers, and other related officials.
"The key to controlling the spread of COVID is for us to follow the discipline of washing our hands, maintaining a safe distance, wearing masks, and avoiding crowds or mass congregations," the president emphasized.
The head of state urged the public to adopt a disciplined approach in following the health protocols.
In the last few days, several traditional markets were thronged by people, for instance, street vendors at the Tanah Abang Market, Central Jakarta, since Sunday (May 17) until today.
The visitors flocked the street vendors to look at the merchandise, mostly clothing, some of which they bought for their children. The visitors seemed to not care a fig about the government's call for physical distancing.
In addition, the Anyar Market in Bogor appeared to be brimming on Sunday (May 17) with residents that were shopping for essentials for Idul Fitri without regard for the rules of large-scale social restrictions.
Most traders sell clothing and other accessories.
President Widodo earlier clarified that the government had yet to issue a policy to ease large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) implemented in Indonesia to thwart the transmission of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
"I want to emphasize that there is no policy on easing the PSBB," President Widodo stated in Jakarta on Monday.
"What we have prepared is only a plan or an easing scenario that will be decided after the right timing is achieved and evaluating data and facts on the field. We must be vigilant and exercise caution amid plans to ease large-scale social restrictions (PSBB)," the president reiterated.
Currently, four provinces and 22 districts and cities have enforced PSBB to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"In this week and the next, the government will continue to focus on the ban on returning to hometowns," the president remarked.
President Widodo also instructed National Police Chief General Pol. Idham Azis and TNI Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto to strengthen the homecoming ban.
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