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COVID-19 clusters rise in govt offices due to lack of awareness: Minister

Jakarta Post - July 29, 2020

Jakarta – A lack of awareness in implementing health protocols has led to high COVID-19 transmission among employees in government offices, Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Tjahjo Kumolo has said.

"As you might already know, the highest [COVID-19] clusters among offices are made up of civil servants," he said on Tuesday.

The government had actually warned civil servants to implement health protocols – such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and good hygiene – through a circular issued by his office in May, Tjahjo said. "However, supervision of the implementation is still lacking so far," he added.

Many civil servants were still seen without masks and gathered without social distancing while working in offices, Tjahjo said, adding that many offices had also yet to adjust air circulation in their buildings.

The minister went on to call for authorities to implement strict supervision as he appealed for civil servants to be more disciplined in implementing health protocols.

He also suggested that offices should instruct their employees to work from home if any of the workers were found to have contracted COVID-19.

The National COVID-19 task force recently revealed that office buildings had emerged as the new clusters of coronavirus transmission in the country, particularly inside those that lack ventilation or room for social distancing.

In Jakarta alone, 68 distinct office clusters had been found as of July 26, which included buildings belonging to public institutions, ministries and state-owned enterprises, among other places, according to data from the Jakarta Health Agency collated by the task force.

Infection clusters among employees have also emerged in other regions, such as in government offices in East Kalimantan and media companies in Surabaya, East Java.

Tjahjo also repeated the government's advice for employees to work safely in offices throughout the pandemic, including the avoidance of meetings, refraining from providing snacks or beverages during any meetings that are held and limiting these meetings to 30 minutes duration at maximum if necessary, kompas.com reported. (dpk)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/07/28/covid-19-clusters-rise-in-govt-offices-due-to-lack-of-awareness-minister.html