W Sumatra governor cautions public against travelling to tourist sites

W Sumatra governor cautions public against travelling to tourist sites

West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno. (ANTARA/Miko Elfisha)

Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA) - West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno alerted people to not travel to any tourist destination, as the government is still grappling to flatten the curve of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by enforcing large-scale social restrictions.

"We are still striving to flatten the curve. Please do not travel (during this Idul Fitri holiday season) to halt the extension of contagion areas," Prayitno notified journalists in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra Province, on Monday.

The governor is confident that large-scale social restrictions and distancing measures will effectively break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

To this end, Prayitno urged people in the province to not throng tourist site areas during their Idul Fitri holiday.
The West Sumatra provincial government has enforced large-scale social restrictions from April 22 to May 5. It then extended the policy up to May 29 to prevent the inflow of homebound travelers' vehicles into the province.

Several thousand cars of homebound travelers heading to West Sumatra were turned back to their provinces of origin owing to the enforcement of large-scale social restrictions.

However, prior to the imposition of this COVID-19-related policy, some 120 thousand homebound travelers had returned to hometowns in West Sumatra. Several of them could likely visit the tourist site areas during this Idul Fitri holiday season.

To this end, the governor requested all city mayors and district heads across the province to keep tourist sites in their respective administrative areas closed until May 29, 2020.

As of Monday, 478 residents of West Sumatra had tested positive for COVID-19. This figure of confirmed cases has almost reached the total capacity of the hospitals' isolation wards in the province, he pointed out.

Indonesia and several other nations worldwide have been battling the spread of COVID-19 over the past few months. The Indonesian government officially announced the country's first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 2.

This deadly coronavirus surfaced in Wuhan at the end of December 2019 but China's lack of transparency and goodwill to tell the truth of human-to-human transmissions from the start has resulted in its global spread.

The Government of the United States, where several of its citizens have succumbed to the COVID-19 disease, alleged the Chinese Government of having "intentionally concealed the severity of the coronavirus from the international community," according to CNN on May 4, 2020.

Washington argued that "China likely cut its exports of medical supplies prior to its January WHO (World Health Organization) notification that COVID-19 is a contagion", according to a Department of Homeland Security report that CNN quoted on May 4.

Indonesia has witnessed several doctors and nurses on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic succumb to the disease.

This ongoing coronavirus pandemic has also severely affected Indonesia's tourism industry owing to the enforcement of large-scale social distancing measures and travel restrictions as well as border closure that has significantly reduced foreign tourist arrivals.

As a result, business players in the tourism sector, such as hotels, restaurants, creative industries, and informal businesses, have sent several of their workers home. In West Java Province alone, at least 48,289 workers were sent home.

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