Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR) will review a number of policies including the collective leave days for Chinese New Year and Eid, after President Joko Widodo admitted that the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Java and Bali aren't working.
Chinese New Year falls on Friday, Feb. 12, whereas Eid will fall sometime in mid-May.
"It's indeed necessary to rethink how to deal with the spike in COVID-19 [cases]. I urge the central government to identify early things that could cause a high increase in COVID-19. As we know, there will be long holidays during CNY and Eid," Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, DPR's deputy speaker, told reporters today.
"Therefore, we suggest the government anticipate or rearrange the plan regarding the long holidays planned by the government, because there will be a surge of COVID-19 cases in every long holiday."
Jokowi said on Friday – a video of the meeting was uploaded yesterday – that the implementation of the Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM) policy in parts of Java and Bali has not produced the desired outcomes.
"I'd like to convey something related to PPKM on 11-25 January 2021. We have to say it like it is. it isn't effective," Jokowi said. "Mobility was still high because we have that mobility index, so that in several provinces COVID-19 cases continue to rise," Jokowi said
Jokowi instructed Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who was among those present at the meeting on Friday, to invite epidemiologists to design comprehensive policies related to the imposition of PPKM – almost a year after COVID-19 was first announced in Indonesia.
"Actually the essence of PPKM is limiting mobility, the name alone is limiting the public's activities. But from what I see, the implementation wasn't stern nor consistent. This is just a matter of implementation."
In recent months, Indonesia saw COVID-19 case spikes often immediately following holidays. The government took the bold step to shorten the Christmas and New Year holidays recently, but Indonesia still saw record numbers of case spikes and deaths in the beginning of 2021.