Houses of worship reopen, albeit with stringent procedures: Jokowi

Houses of worship reopen, albeit with stringent procedures: Jokowi

President Joko Widodo observed the preparedness of Istiqlal Mosque to apply the procedures for a new normal. (ANTARA/HO-Press Bureau of the Presidential Secretariat/sh

Strict stages of protocols will be applied while reopening houses of worship, facilities for economic activities, and schools on the basis of the reproduction number R0 and Rt
Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) emphasized that houses of worship, schools, and other economic activities would be reopened though applying strict procedures based on the COVID-19 basic reproduction number (R0) and effective reproduction number (Rt).

The president made the statement here on Tuesday after observing the preparedness of Istiqlal Grand Mosque to apply the procedures for a new normal.

"Strict stages of protocols will be applied while reopening houses of worship, facilities for economic activities, and schools on the basis of the reproduction number R0 and Rt," Jokowi stated.

The president affirmed that the reopening of public activities would be based on research data and be conducted in stages.

He highlighted the need for the Istiqlal Mosque management to prepare health protocols to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Renovation is underway at the Istiqlal Mosque since May 2019, and the project is targeted for completion by early July, according to the mosque's Grand Imam Nasaruddin Umar.

The work to renovate the largest mosque in Southeast Asia has reached 90-percent completion.

Earlier, the Religious Affairs Ministry had issued new-fangled guidelines for houses of worship that are set to reopen soon.

According to the guidelines, houses of worship may only reopen if the COVID-19 basic reproduction number, R0 or R-naught, as well as the effective reproduction number, Rt, in their respective areas are below a certain threshold.

Houses of worship that plan to reopen must secure a letter from their local COVID-19 task force, confirming that the area is safe from COVID-19.

The circular also requires the implementation of rigorous health procedures, including the deployment of special personnel in charge of monitoring physical distancing and the installation of sanitation facilities at the entrances and exits of all houses of worship.

Children and elderly vulnerable to diseases should be forbidden from praying at houses of worship, according to the circular.
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