Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – The Medan administration in North Sumatra will proceed with Christmas and New Year celebrations while urging residents to avoid crowds despite a prohibition against crowd-pulling events from the provincial administration to curb soaring COVID-19 cases.
Medan administration official Renward Parapat, representing the city's acting mayor Akhyar Nasution in a cross-sectoral meeting on the year-end holidays on Thursday, said the administration would help ensure that Christmas and New Year celebrations in the city would run smoothly and safely.
"This year's Christmas celebration must be carried out by following health protocols, given that the COVID-19 epidemic is still hitting Medan. We hope that such conditions won't lessen the solemnity of the celebration for the sake of everyone's safety," Renwardi said on the sidelines of the meeting at Medan Police headquarters on Thursday.
Renward, however, has called on the public to refrain from joining crowds on New Year's Eve to prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 clusters that might result in a spike of cases in the city.
Deputy Medan Police chief Adj. Cmr. Irsan Sinuhaji, who was also present in the meeting, said that all concerned parties must focus on preventing COVID-19 transmission, including by preventing crowd-gathering events.
He said, consequently, there would be road closures and re-routing toward the Merdeka Field to prevent crowds forming in public places.
North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi said on Thursday there would not be any New Year celebrations in the province as he expressed the hope that those celebrating Christmas would still follow health protocols.
"As for Christmas, perform prayers with all their solemnity while still strictly following health protocols," Edy said.
The province recorded 89 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total tally to 17,095 with 647 fatalities, according to data from the Health Ministry.