Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – National COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito has warned the public about possible infection clusters at shelters for flood victims as the rainy season approaches.
"We are calling on regional governments to be vigilant to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission. One potential source of COVID-19 clusters would be the flood victims' shelters," Wiku said on Thursday.
Adherence to health protocols at the shelters, including wearing masks, physical distancing and washing hands, could reduce the risk of transmission, he said.
He also noted the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of the shelters and providing sufficient air circulation and sunlight to protect the people from common rainy season diseases such as dengue fever, diarrhea, leprosy, typhus and skin disease.
"All of these diseases could lower people's immunity, causing them to become more susceptible to contracting COVID-19," he said.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicted the rainy season – which often brings floods – will begin in late October or early November this year, but several regions have already reported torrential rain during the current transition from the dry season to the wet season.
Heavy rainfall has caused flooding in several regions in the country, including Jakarta and West Java on Tuesday and Wednesday, with water in Sukabumi, West Java, reaching 6 meters high. The Sukabumi Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency reported that 20 people sustained injuries and 210 families had fled their homes during the flooding.
Meanwhile, Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan declared a 14-day state of emergency until Sept. 26 and 27 respectively in response to massive flooding that has inundated dozens of districts in the two provinces over the last 15 days.
At least 16,459 people were affected by the flood in Central Kalimantan alone, while in West Kalimantan, flooding hit more than half the districts in Ketapang regency, home to 279,530 people.