Indonesia's COVID-19 Task Force is discouraging citizens from attending public viewings of the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Cup final between the Red-and-Whites and Thailand this evening.
It was only yesterday that Indonesia recorded its first known locally transmitted Omicron case. With no strict mobility restrictions in place, the task force is concerned that large gatherings like nobar (Indonesian acronym for "watch together") for tonight's game would lead to a huge spike in cases.
"That's why we urge the public to watch the game at home. There should be no parades or convoys or any activities that attract crowds. It's too risky," COVID-19 Task Force Behavioral Shift Division Head Sonny B. Harmadi said today.
The euphoria is high in Indonesia as its men's soccer team is set to take on regional giants Thailand for the title of 2020 AFF Cup champions (the tournament was pushed back to 2021, because pandemic). Indonesia has never won the biennial competition, but were losing finalists on five occasions. Five-time champions Thailand dispatched Indonesia in three of those finals, the last one coming in 2016.
The first leg of the final will be contested tonight at Singapore's National Stadium at 7:30pm Jakarta time, followed by the second leg at the same time and stadium on Saturday, Jan. 1.
Regardless of the COVID-19 Task Force's plea, many public facilities and F&B establishments have advertised nobar sessions for both games. Under current restrictions, holding nobar at the aforementioned time would not violate any curfew, but establishments must be mindful of reduced capacity rules.