Jakarta – Hundreds of visitors flocked to Mount Lawu in Magetan, East Java, on Sunday, raising concern over the transmission of COVID-19 at the popular hiking spot as management was overwhelmed in controlling the crowds.
Footage of hundreds of visitors being stuck at the jam-packed entrance to the Cemoro Sewu trekking route went viral on social media on Sunday gaining more than 56,000 views.
"New cluster: Mount Lawu," a Twitter user with the handle of @sociogeeks_ wrote on Sunday.
Giri Lawu management office head Miko Wicaksono confirmed the situation and said the footage had been taken on Sunday morning.
"The video was taken by my friend this morning at the entrance of the Cemoro Sewu trail," he said on Sunday as reported by tribunnews.com.
Miko admitted that the management team was overwhelmed by the number of visitors flocking to the mountain on Sunday and was struggling to ensure visitors adhere to the physical distancing rule.
"We broadcast the health protocol requirements through social media and set up handwashing facilities near the entrance. We also reminded visitors to follow protocol through megaphones, but we're struggling to manage such a large number of hikers," he said.
Miko said at least 800 hikers had registered on Sunday, which was the maximum allowed number of daily visitors at the mountain. "We stopped the registration at 5 p.m.," he said.
It is a longstanding tradition for Indonesians to hike mountains ahead of Independence Day on Aug. 17 to conduct flag-hoisting ceremonies on mountaintops. (nal)