Jakarta – Ahead of several national holidays next week, the national COVID-19 task force has warned the public that long weekends could lead to a spike in the cumulative number of daily and weekly coronavirus infections by up to 118 percent.
"Long holidays have been proven to have the effect of increasing the number of positive cases nationwide," task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said on Tuesday.
Referring to the Idul Fitri holiday from May 22 to 25 as an example, Wiku said that within 10 to 14 days after Idul Fitri, the cumulative number of daily and weekly coronavirus cases increased 69 to 93 percent over regular infection rates.
Within 10 to 14 days after the long weekend from Aug. 20 to 23, the cumulative number of daily and weekly cases increased 58 to 118 percent, he said.
The series of long weekends in May and August also resulted in the increase of the positivity rate at 3.9 percent nationwide.
"[The spike] was triggered by the gathering of crowds at public places during holidays, coupled with the public's disobedience over adhering to health protocols," he said as quoted by kompas.com.
The government has declared Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 collective leave days. Sandwiched between those dates is Prophet Muhammad's Birthday on Oct. 29, another public holiday.
Wiku reminded the public to refrain from visiting tourist destinations during the long stretch of holidays next week.
He further urged the public to refrain from nonessential travel outside their hometowns during the long weekend.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo instructed his aides to monitor for a possible spike in cases as people were more likely to travel during the extended holiday.