Evaluating health protocols during Papua PON needed: house speaker

Evaluating health protocols during Papua PON needed: house speaker

Speaker of House of Representatives Puan Maharani. (ANTARA/HO-Documentation/rst)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani called to conduct an evaluation of the health protocols implemented at the XX Papua National Games (PON) on grounds of mutual safety after several athletes and officials tested positive for COVID-19.

"An evaluation must be conducted of the health protocols at the Papua PON. We do not want to risk people's safety," Maharani stated on Wednesday.

This matter pertains to a report wherein 29 PON athletes, officials, and committee were exposed to COVID-19. The 29 people are spread across four PON clusters -- Jayapura City, Jayapura District, Mimika District, and Jayapura District.

Maharani later urged the organizers to immediately isolate PON participants indicated to be positive for COVID-19. She also reminded of the importance of tracking accuracy and sterilization of venues to stem virus transmission.

"Do not let this national event bring problems to the community, especially the people of Papua, as the host," she affirmed.

She urged organizers and related stakeholders to immediately probe the reason behind this spike in the number of COVID-19 cases among PON participants. She urged all parties to work together to find a solution to avoid an increase in the number of PON participants exposed to COVID-19.

The house speaker also highlighted the inadequate implementation of health protocols at PON venues. According to reports, inspections and supervision during matches were often less than optimal.

Related news: PON XX Papua applies strict bubble to contain COVID-19 spread

“The implementation of health protocols at the opening ceremony a few days ago was quite good. It should be applied at every venue during the national games to ensure everyone's safety," she remarked.

The organizing committee should also consistently check vaccine certificates of spectators coming to every PON match. The requirement for a maximum audience capacity of 25 percent had to be followed, Maharani emphasized.

The match committee should always keep an eye on spectators, most importantly, when they start to crowd or removing their mask, she stated.

"The organizers, along with the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, must implement health protocols," she stressed.

On the other hand, she reminded athletes and officials to stay vigilant and always implement health protocols and avoid unnecessary interaction during the match, especially when they remove their masks.

However, Maharani noted that the COVID-19 cases should not dampen the spirit of Papua PON. She also expressed optimism that additional cases would not surface at the four-yearly sporting event.

"Let us work together to keep the Papua PON well-organized. Keep the spirits high, be optimistic, and always implement health protocols," she noted.

Maharani spoke of having reminded all stakeholders that the key to the success of the XX Papua PON is the discipline in implementing health protocols.

The success of the XX Papua PON is important to prove that Indonesia is able to properly organize the first national-scale event during the COVID-19 pandemic, she affirmed. 

Related news: Athletes testing COVID positive won't dampen PON enthusiasm: minister