Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) held discussions with eight interfaith leaders representing Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism over the government's preparations to enforce a new normal amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

At the meeting held at the Merdeka Palace here, Tuesday, President Jokowi sought opinions from the interfaith leaders on imposition of new normal procedures at houses of worship in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the company of Vice President Ma'ruf Amin and State Secretary Pratikno, President Jokowi drew emphasis to the fact that the COVID-19 outbreak was not solely a public health issue but it also had socio-economical repercussions on communities owing to its wide-ranging impacts on other sectors of life.

On account of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the Indonesian government has taken the decision to not send its Hajj pilgrims to the holy city of Mecca during this year's Hajj pilgrimage season.

Interfaith leaders Helmi Faishal Zaini of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Abdul Mu'ti from Muhammadiyah, KH. Muhyiddin Junaidi of the Indonesian Ulema Council, Pdt. Gomar Gultom of PGI, and Ignatius Kardinal Suharyo of KWI attended the meeting with President Jokowi.

At the meeting, Wisnu Bawa Tenaya represented the Indonesian Hindu Council (PHDI) while Arief Harsono from the Indonesian Buddist Association (Permabudhi), and Xs. Budi Santoso Tanuwibowo of the Indonesian Confucian High Council (Matakin).

Related news: Houses of worship reopen, albeit with stringent procedures: Jokowi
Related news: Indonesia announces cancellation of Hajj pilgrimage 2020 amid COVID-19

The Indonesian government has begun enforcing a new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic in four provinces and 25 cities and districts.

President Jokowi has also planned to expand the enforcement of the new normal order in other cities and districts in the event of a significant decline in COVID-19 transmission in those areas.

On May 26, 2020, President Jokowi spoke of the government having begun the deployment of TNI and police personnel in crowded areas in four provinces and 25 cities and districts as part of implementing the new normal.

During the day, he reviewed preparations for enforcing standard operating procedures for the new normal and preventive measures for curbing the spread of COVID-19 in public places, such as Central Jakarta's MRT stations and shopping malls in Bekasi, West Java.

Coronavirus infections initially emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Since then, COVID-19 has spread to over 215 countries and territories, including Indonesia, with a massive spurt in death toll. The Indonesian government officially confirmed the country's first cases on March 2 this year.

Related news: President reviews Istiqlal Mosque's preparations for new normal
Related news: Hajj Commission commends decision to not send hajj pilgrims

Translator: Hanni S, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2020