Last year, revelers flocking to Thamrin Street near the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout in Central Jakarta welcomed 2020 with fireworks displays and festivities. They were also entertained by live concerts and cultural performances.
However, the New Year’s Eve this year has been marked by an absence of year-end events in the Indonesian capital due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, which has also severely hit Indonesia's public health and economy.
Instead of hanging out with relatives or friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Thursday evening, Indonesians have been advised to stay at home in a bid to curb crowd-pulling events that could potentially lead to a breach of the government's health protocols.
Jakarta's Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria on Thursday reminded the city's residents of the Governor's instructions banning all New Year eve celebrations amid the pandemic.
“Unlike the previous years, the Jakarta provincial government is not convening year-ender events this year. There are no music concerts, fireworks, culinary fiesta, arts and cultural performances, and so on,” he confirmed.
The government has also ordered those operating hotels, restaurants, cafes, tourist sites, and other businesses to not hold New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“Please do not undermine this policy. If they have been warned of closing their businesses this evening, but they ignore the warning, we are going to crack down on them. Revoking their business permits is also possible,” Patria stated.
Indonesia's national police disclosed on Thursday that New Year Eve celebrations, which draw crowds, have been banned all over the country to halt any potential transmission of novel coronavirus disease.
"This year, the New Year's eve celebrations are banned. All places often used for organizing the year-ender events have, from the beginning, been secured by authorized personnel," National Police spokesperson Brig.Gen.Rusdi Hartono said.
A joint team of police and military personnel dispatched to conduct security and surveillance operations are focusing on houses of worship and tourist sites frequented by revelers on New Year's eve, Hartono told journalists here.
Among the prioritized places are 45,489 churches, 1,833 places often visited by revelers, and 3,483 tourist sites across the archipelago, he added.
The police ban on all New Year eve celebrations has been mandated by the police chief's instruction (No. Mak/4/XII/2020) dated December 23, 2020, in compliance with the government's health protocols for the 2020 Christmas and 2021 New Year holidays.
According to Hartono, the ban has been imposed in view of the "the safety of the people be the supreme law” principle, and the fact that Indonesia's COVID-19 infection rate has remained quite high.
The enforcement of social restrictions has also continued to deal with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases following several long holidays, he said, adding that people are also being prohibited from organizing road convoys, motorcades, and fireworks displays.
"Those violating the police chief's instruction, police officers will take necessary actions against them," Hartono said.
Jakarta's provincial administration has also cautioned residents and business owners against holding New Year's Eve celebrations on Thursday evening.
"Starting from 7 p.m. local time, there will be no crowd-pulling activities. The Jakarta metropolitan police have supported (this policy)," Patria stated.
To ensure no New Year’s Eve celebrations are organized by communities and business entities in Jakarta, a joint team of security personnel has stepped up surveillance operations around the capital city.
Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of his visit to the Pulogebang Integrated Bus Terminal in East Jakarta, Patria noted that the security personnel have been recruited from the police, military, and city public order agency.
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The joint team has increased surveillance operations at all locations in the city, including several points on MH Thamrin and Sudirman road sections, which are frequently visited by crowds of people, he informed.
Jakarta and 33 provincial governments have been striving to contain coronavirus infections, which initially emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 and then spread worldwide, including to nations in the Asia-Pacific region.
The first COVID-19 infections in Indonesia were reported on March 2 this year.
As of December 28, 2020, Indonesia had recorded a total of 719,219 COVID-19 cases, 589,978 recoveries, and 21,452 fatalities, while on December 30, 2020, Jakarta reportedly contributed the highest number of fresh cases at 2,053.
According to the Indonesian government's COVID-19 task force, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country increased drastically between November and December this year, including a 55-percent jump in active cases in a single month.
Considering the fact that COVID-19 still poses a serious threat in the country, staying at home remains the best option for Indonesians while awaiting the arrival of 2021 amid hopes of an end to the global pandemic soon. (INE)
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