Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis has issued an edict announcing that the police will take strict action against people who conduct mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the edict, dated March 19, Idham urged the public to refrain from organizing mass gatherings in public places or private properties.
Several examples of mass gatherings prohibited by the edict include social meetings, workshops, music festivals, carnivals, sports events, fairs, mass protests and family receptions.
"If the situation is pressing and cannot be avoided, mass gatherings should be conducted with participants maintaining a safe distance from each other and they must follow the government's COVID-19 prevention procedures," he said.
He also warned the public to refrain from stockpiling food and other basic necessities.
"Police officers are required to take the necessary police action according to prevailing laws and regulations should they find any party violating this edict," Idham said.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo recently called on the public to work, study and worship from home to prevent a nationwide outbreak, but he stressed that the government was "not leaning toward issuing a lockdown policy".
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan declared a 14-day state of emergency in the capital city on Saturday in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged all stakeholders – including corporations, social organizations and religious groups – to take drastic action to prevent the spread of the disease during the state of emergency.
"Officers from the Jakarta Police, the Jakarta Military Command and provincial administrations will be out in the field on Monday to make sure everybody obeys the policy."
Indonesia reported 514 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide with 48 deaths as of Sunday afternoon.