Indonesia bans government and company staff from taking holidays around Christmas and New Year

JAKARTA – Indonesia has banned civil servants and workers in public and private companies from taking holidays around Christmas and New Year, as part of a strong preventive measure to avoid a Covid-19 outbreak.

This will affect around 4.2 million civil servants and two million workers in public companies, and many more in private companies.

In addition, “any artistic, cultural or sporting event is not authorized between December 24 and January 2”, indicates a decree from the Ministry of the Interior posted online on Tuesday November 23. “All squares in the city must be closed on December 31 and January 1.”

The number of coronavirus infections and deaths in Southeast Asia’s most populous country has stabilized. According to Google’s Covid-19 Community Mobility Report, more people are now going to places like restaurants and malls compared to before the pandemic.

Indonesia has walked a fine line between the need to sustain the momentum of economic recovery – by reopening borders and lifting restrictions on movement and businesses – and the need to prevent Covid-19 cases from rising. reappear.

It has always witnessed an increase in infections after past holidays, including the Hari Raya holiday in May when millions, unaware of official pleadings, traveled the vast archipelago. An estimated 2.2 million people left Greater Jakarta, the largest contributor to this movement of people.

Infections and deaths soared after the holidays as hospitals and healthcare workers were pushed to their limits and oxygen shortages hit.

“Preparation is underway to protect Christmas and New Year breaks based on the PPKM level 3 protocol,” national police spokesman Brigadier General Rusdi Hartono said, referring to the second most high of the four-level movement restriction protocol.

Below level 3, restaurants, cafes and places of worship can be open at 50% capacity. Still, additional travel restrictions could be introduced for the next holiday season, the government said.

The decree states that local transport authorities, civil security officers from each of the more than 500 cities and regencies are responsible for operating their respective checkpoints, assisted by the police and the armed forces, during the holiday season. .

Many parts of Indonesia have gradually moved closer to normality after the country managed to bring the latest wave of the disease, caused mainly by the Delta variant, under control, which started after Hari Raya.

The seven-day average of infections peaked in mid-July with 50,000 cases per day. The number fell to 1,700 at the start of last month and to 367 on Wednesday. Death rates also fell from the seven-day average peak of 1,700 in early August to around 100 in early October and 10 on Wednesday.

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