Jakarta – The national COVID-19 task force has called on the National Police and the military to test personnel deployed to the Job Creation Law protests because protesters arrested in several regions have had reactive test results.
"We ask the police and the military to carry out COVID-19 tests on personnel who handled jobs law protests last week," task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.
Wiku highlighted the importance of rapid testing as a screening method to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further. "If there are reactive results from the tests, we must immediately trace their contacts," he said.
Wiku added that he hoped that university management and companies would perform rapid tests on students and workers who participated in the rally. He said he expected companies to establish their own COVID-19 task forces.
According to reports to the task force, of the 253 protesters arrested in North Sumatra, 21 showed reactive test results. In Jakarta, 34 of the 1,192 protesters arrested had reactive results. In East Java, 24 of the 650 protesters arrested had reactive results. In South Sumatra, 30 of the 261 protesters arrested had reactive results. In West Java, 13 of the 39 protesters arrested had reactive results, and one of the 95 protesters arrested in Yogyakarta had a reactive test result.
"In total, there are 123 reactive test results from protesters arrested in the six provinces so far. We are still waiting for the test results from Central Java," Wiku said.
A joint force of 9,332 policemen, soldiers and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers was deployed in the capital on Tuesday during a Job Creation Law demonstration, according to the police.
Widespread protests erupted across the country after the House of Representatives passed the bill on Oct. 5. Some protests have been marred by violent clashes between protesters and security forces.
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said it had received at least 1,500 reports of alleged police violence from Oct. 6 to 8 during the national strike against the new law, organized primarily by labor unions. Another round of protests occurred on Monday.
The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) previously warned of the possibility that new COVID-19 clusters would emerge from demonstrations against the Job Creation Law and noted the difficulty of tracing virus transmission that had resulted from the demonstrations that had taken place in many parts of the country. (iwa)