Jakarta – The regency of Bogor in West Java is gearing up for mass-testing of holidaymakers in a bid to curb COVID-19 transmission during the long weekend.
The long weekend centers on the public holiday of Maulid (commemorating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad) on Thursday, with Wednesday and Friday declared collective leave days.
Bogor Regent Ade Yasin said three locations would be rapid test spots, namely Gadog, the Matahari Tourism Park and Gunung Mas.
"We will conduct rapid tests on Oct. 29, for tourists," said Ade on Tuesday as quoted by tribunnews.com. "We have prepared 1,000 rapid tests for the three locations. The goal is to screen people who come to Puncak," she continued.
Ade emphasized that the rapid test was free for tourists, because the service was provided by the West Java administration. "Rapid tests are carried out simultaneously in five cities/regencies in West Java, including Karawang and Cirebon," added Ade.
Tourists can volunteer for tests or are randomly picked by security officers tasked with monitoring adherence to COVID-19 health protocol. "So, those who want to have a rapid test, go ahead while it's free," she added.
The Bogor regency administration also welcomes tourists who have carried out independent rapid/swab tests to bring along the results.
In addition to the rapid test, the Bogor regency administration will monitor tourist attractions to ensure visitors' compliance with the 3M health protocol, namely mencuci tangan (washing one's hands), memakai masker (wearing a mask), and menjaga jarak (keeping a distance).
"We will set up checkpoints involving the COVID-19 task force and other relevant agencies," said Ade. The hot spots being monitored include Gadog, Riung Gunung, Matahari Tourism Park and Gunung Mas.
"Gunung Mas is one of the favorite [destinations]. Sometimes when access to Gadog is restricted, visitors take alternative roads and suddenly crowds emerge in Gunung Mas," added Ade.
To avoid crowds, the Public Order Agency will conduct raids at tourist attractions.
"The tourist attractions must only run at 50 percent of their capacity. For example, if a restaurant has a capacity of 100 people, it can only accommodate 50 people," said Ade.
The Bogor regency administration will deploy the task force to the subdistrict level, so that, when Puncak is getting denser, officers will restrict access at Gadog.
Ade acknowledged that he was worried about the long weekend, because tourist attractions in Bogor regency had always been favorite choice for holidaymakers.
"We are worried it will create a new cluster. So we will hold restrictions, and conduct monitoring, raids and [security measures]," he went on.
"We want to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at tourist sites, because, usually, there is a spike in COVID-19 cases after public holidays," said Ade.
Meanwhile The national COVID-19 task force urged the public on Tuesday to spend the upcoming long weekend at home to help prevent a spike in coronavirus transmission amid concerns of a re-emergence of holiday clusters.
"We strongly urge everyone to avoid going to public places during the holiday. Please stay at home, there will be other holidays in the future," task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said during a press briefing on Tuesday. (iwa)