Indonesian govt issues ordinance on religious observance events

Indonesian govt issues ordinance on religious observance events

Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas. (ANTARA/HO-Religious Affairs Ministry).

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry issued an ordinance on religious observances amid the COVID-19 pandemic to regulate permitted activities and prevent religious events in different parts of Indonesia from turning into COVID-19 infection clusters.

"We issued the ordinance to prevent the COVID-19 infection at religious events and to ensure health and safety at religious events, such as Prophet Muhammad's Birthday or Christmas celebrations," Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, as quoted from the ministry's press statement, noted in Jakarta on Friday.

The COVID-19 infection rate and the pandemic situation in Indonesian regions are taken into account during the drafting of the Religious Affairs Minister Circular No. 29 of 2021 regulating religious observance events, he stated.

The minister's circular recommended religious observance events in regions with public activity restriction enforcement (PPKM) status at level 3 or 4 to be held virtually and offline events could only take place at outdoor spaces with maximum participants capped at 50 percent out of the total capacity.

Offline religious observance events at regions with PPKM status at level 1 or 2 are allowed to take place in any large open spaces.

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Health protocol measures, such as temperature checks prior to entry, physical distancing, medical masks provision, and installation of necessary health protocol instruments, are required at religious observance events regardless of the regional PPKM level.

The circular recommends religious establishments to apply for mobile COVID-19 contact tracing application PeduliLindungi's QR code and provide it to visiting worshippers that would scan the QR code before and after their entry, the minister explained.

Residents above 60 years of age and pregnant women are discouraged from attending religious events that potentially cause crowding of people, while parades in religious events are prohibited, he noted.

"Parade during religious observances may attract large crowds, so it must be prohibited," Minister Qoumas stated.

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