Jakarta – National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardol has advised the public to remain at home during the year-end holidays due to potential extreme weather in the next two to three weeks.
"The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency [BMKG] predicts extreme weather during the year-end holidays and advises us to stay at home. I hope we will pay attention to [this warning] and heed the BMKG's [advice]," Doni said in a virtual press conference on Monday as reported by kompas.com.
BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati previously said that several provinces across the archipelago would experience heavy rainfall over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
"Several regions are expected to see high-intensity rainfall in December and January, especially during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Rainfall is forecast to exceed 300 mm per day," Dwikorita said in a recent hearing with House of Representatives Commission V, which oversees infrastructure and transportation.
She said the regions that would likely see heavy downpours were the east coast of Sumatra, most of Java and Bali, parts of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), parts of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West and Central Kalimantan, Sulawesi, parts of Maluku, parts of West Papua and Papua.
On New Year's Eve last year, several regions across the country experienced extreme weather, with the BMKG reporting that parts of Jakarta saw the worst rainfall in the city's history.
The extreme rainfall caused massive flooding in the capital city and several regions of West Java and Banten.
Doni said that, besides extreme weather, the public would face potential COVID-19 transmission if they opted to travel during the year-end holidays.
"The holiday might trigger the gathering of crowds in public places. So, let's make the upcoming holiday safe and comfortable by not going outside and travelling," he said.
In the press conference, Doni also urged regional administrations to set up preventive measures to avoid a surge in new COVID-19 cases during the simultaneous regional elections on Wednesday.
"I have advised the regional administrations, especially the leaders, to carry out the elections in accordance with [strict health] protocols formulated by the General Elections Commission [KPU]," Doni said.
He also highlighted the importance of early detection of events that might draw crowds.
"Instead of dispersing crowds, regional administrations should prioritize efforts to prevent a buildup of crowds," Doni said.
As of Monday, Indonesia has recorded 581,550 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with an average of around 5,000 new cases reported every day.
Officials from the Health Ministry said that there were currently 84,481 active cases in the country.
The number of recovered patients has reached 479,202 people as of Monday, while the death toll reached 17,867. (nal)