“So, we are considering eliminating the long holiday, as it is always followed by an increase in cases," said the task force’s head of behavior change, Sonny Harry B Harmadi, at an online productive dialogue entitled ‘Don't be tired, don't be careless. Obey the Health Protocol’, which ANTARA joined from here on Thursday.
According to Harmadi, the surge in COVID-19 cases currently seen in several regions in Indonesia was more likely caused by high public mobility and activity after the 2021 Eid holiday.
"This long holiday agenda is always followed by a spike in cases. We also realize that the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in Indonesia even existed before the long holiday. This means that the spike in cases occurred due to long holidays," he noted.
The government tried to anticipate an increase in cases, based on the agenda of four long holidays in 2020, which led to a spike in active cases and death rates, especially the death rate of health workers, he said.
"However, the facts show that there are still quite a lot of people who returned to their hometowns (this year). It turns out that around 1.8 million people were going home before the enactment of the homecoming ban on May 6-17 (2021) and after," he pointed out.
The government has predicted that any increase in public mobility will be followed by reduced compliance with health protocols, and thus trigger a rise in cases, he said.
Indonesia had earlier succeeded in reducing active cases to 87,662 on May 18, 2021 from more than 176,500 on February 5, 2021, he noted.
“So, actually we have succeeded in reducing (cases) thanks to increasing public compliance with health protocols, accompanied by a decrease in population mobility," Harmadi said. (INE)
Related news: Jakarta's recent COVID-19 case spike linked to Eid holidays: Governor
Related news: Government seeks preventive efforts against COVID-19 spike in June
EDITED BY INE