Jokowi to not hold open house to stem COVID-19 spread

Jokowi to not hold open house to stem COVID-19 spread

President Joko Widodo (FOTO ANTARA/dok)

The 'silaturrahim' tradition with relatives and friends must continue to be preserved, though they cannot meet physically. It can still be done virtually
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The State Palace authority confirmed that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and First Lady Iriana will not hold an open house at the State Palace on May 25 to contain the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

In this place, President Jokowi has appealed to the people at large to uphold the spirit of "silaturrahim," or Islamic brotherhood, during the Idul Fitri festivities virtually through the use of various digital media platforms.

"The 'silaturrahim' tradition with relatives and friends must continue to be preserved, though they cannot meet physically. It can still be done virtually," Presidential Secretariat Deputy Head of Protocol, Press, and Media Bey Triadi Machmudin noted in a press statement that ANTARA received here Friday.

President Jokowi has also urged all ministers and cabinet members to not convene the open house events.  

"Of course, what Mr. President does is expected to be emulated by other cabinet members. Vice President Ma'ruf Amin too will not hold the open house event," he noted.

During his first presidential term, President Jokowi routinely held the open house event in connection with the Idul Fitri festivities. During last year's Idul Fitri celebrations, he held the open house event at the State Palace, while in 2018, he held it at the Bogor Presidential Palace.

However, this year's open house event will not be convened owing to the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19. The Idul Fitri festivities, marking the end of the Ramadhan fasting month, will fall on May 24.

In connection with the government's endeavors to slow the spread of COVID-19, the people, at large, are suggested to stay away from hometowns and forego physical contact with parents, relatives, and friends during the Idul Fitri festivities.

Physical distancing is no longer a barrier to maintain close relations in this digital era, and the spirit of "silaturrahim" can nonetheless be preserved by contacting friends and families over phone, WhatsApp, and teleconferencing platforms, such as Zoom.

With people opting to stay at home and not joining the annual exodus prior to and during the Idul Fitri holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government's endeavors to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases have gotten a boost.

The government alone cannot contain the spread of COVID-19. Flattening the curve necessitates participation from the people, at large, and upholding the spirit of "gotong royong”, or mutual cooperation.

If most Indonesians uphold the spirit of "gotong royong" and maintain strict discipline in the fight against coronavirus, Indonesia's situation in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic may likely improve in June and July this year.

"Insya Allah (with God's grace), in June and July, all things will get better than now," the government's spokesperson for COVID-19 task force, Achmad Yurianto, remarked during a virtual press conference in Jakarta on May 4, 2020.

The spirit of "gotong royong", strict discipline, and persistence are indispensable in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, as they will help Indonesia to emerge out of the pandemic.

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