Jakarta – The Jakarta and Central Java administrations have encouraged residents to stay home for New Year's Eve.
"We request that everyone stay home," Jakarta deputy governor Ahmad Riza Patria said on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.
Riza said that Jakartans should not go out unless for important matters, such as going to the doctor or buying food. "Don't go out unless it's very important," he said.
Riza added that large gatherings were prohibited during New Year's Eve and that the administration had informed business owners not to host celebrations.
He reminded the public about the impact of long weekend holidays on COVID-19 cases, saying that he did not want New Year's Eve celebrations to cause another surge of cases.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo also requested that residents stay home, citing COVID-19 cases and the volcanic activity of Mount Merapi as reasons not to go out.
"We request that all residents spend their holidays at home. However, we will ask the team to stay alert," said Ganjar on Tuesday.
Christmas and New Year 2021 Integrated Post coordinator Rudi Widiatmanto said that everything ran well in Central Java during Christmas, noting that no accidents or traffic jams had occurred during the holiday.
He added that there had been no significant increase in tourist visits at train stations, airports or ports from Dec. 18 to Dec. 29.
Long holidays have served as contributing factors in previous COVID-19 case spikes.
Indonesia recorded increases of between 69 and 93 percent in its daily and weekly averages of new COVID-19 cases 10 to 14 days after the long Idul Fitri holiday in May.
Similarly, 10 to 14 days after the long Independence Day weekend from Aug. 20 to 23, Indonesia saw a surge of between 58 and 118 percent in daily and weekly averages of new COVID-19 cases.
National COVID-19 task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito warned of the possible transmission impact of the Christmas and New Year holidays, particularly in light of the new coronavirus strain discovered in the United Kingdom. Wiku said a mutated coronavirus might enter Indonesia through transmission from outside or within the country.
He advised people not to travel during the long holiday. "When we travel, it creates opportunities for the virus to be transmitted," he said, "Moreover, this new virus has a higher infection potential."
Responding to the issue, most regional administrations have taken measures to prevent spikes of COVID-19 cases during the year-end holidays.
The West Sumatra provincial administration, for instance, has released Gubernatorial Regulation No. 6/2020 on the closure of tourist attractions from Dec. 31 to Jan. 3, 2021.
"The regulation was released based on a meeting between the police and the West Sumatra provincial administration," West Sumatra Tourism Agency head Novrial said on Wednesday.
Novrial said West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno had instructed all regents and mayors in the province to temporarily close tourist attractions, starting from Dec. 31.
However, eateries will still be allowed to provide delivery and takeaway services. (jes)