Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has asked communities celebrating the Lunar or Chinese New Year to remain disciplined in complying with the health protocols to prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases.

"The pandemic has not stopped. We should be careful, especially with the increased local transmission of the Omicron variant. Let's celebrate 2022's Lunar New Year with simplicity and health protocols, without lessening its meaning," Qoumas remarked here on Saturday.

He also said that the Lunar New Year in 2022 must be celebrated with care, including by avoiding crowds.

People should keep family gatherings small and not go out of town as the current pandemic situation is considered still threatening with cases increasing due to Omicron, he added.

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To ensure health protocols are followed properly, he asked all parties to implement the recommendations stipulated in Circular Letter No. 02 of 2022 on the implementation of Lunar New Year 2573 Kongzili.

The circular allows Chinese New Year celebrations in all temples, miao, litang or xuetang, but at a limited capacity of 10 percent and that is also in accordance with the level of public activity restrictions (PPKM) in each area, he said.

The celebration organizers must coordinate with the local COVID-19 Task Force, government, and security authorities to ascertain the status of zoning and prepare health workers for overseeing health protocol observance during events, he added.

Qoumas expressed the hope that all parties would work together to implement strict health protocols during every religious holiday to create a safe and comfortable environment and protect people from COVID-19.

"Let's remind each other of the importance of maintaining health protocols in many situations, such as when celebrating the Chinese New Year," he remarked.

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Translator: Hreeloita S, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022