In order to prevent another outbreak of COVID-19 cases after the year-end holiday, the Indonesian government issued a directive prohibiting all civil servants and employees of state-owned and private enterprises from asking for leave during Christmas and New Year's Day, which will affect 4.2 million civil servants and 2 million employees of state-owned enterprises, as well as millions of employees of private enterprises.
In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs of Indonesia also announced in a public order on Tuesday (November 23) that it is prohibited to hold any artistic, cultural and sports activities from December 24 to January 2, and all town squares must be closed on December 31 and January 1.
The Indonesian authorities also instructed the transportation departments and civil security officials in over 500 cities and counties to assist local police and armed forces in operating checkpoints during the year-end holiday to ensure that people strictly abide by the restrictions.
After Indonesia successfully curbed the third outbreak of COVID-19 cases, pandemic prevention control was gradually lifted in many regions to allow people to return to normal life. However, with the year-end holiday approaching, the Indonesian government decided to learn from the lessons of the past and take a set of preventive measures.
Over the past year, Indonesia has seen a surge in confirmed cases every long holiday. After the end of the year-end holiday in 2020, confirmed cases reached its first peak since the outbreak of COVID-19.
After “Eid al-Fitr”(the feast of breaking the fast) in mid May this year, a new wave of pandemic broke out in Indonesia. According to official forecasts, at that time, despite the travel ban and repeated warnings issued by the authorities, about 2.2 million people left Jakarta to return home for the festival, resulting in a sharp rise in confirmed new cases and deaths. When the pandemic peaked in mid July, there were up to 50,000 confirmed new cases every day.
Indonesia will ban the New Year parade and other celebrations from December 24 to January 2.
The Indonesian government announced last week that it would raise the Community Activities Restrictions Enforcement((Indonesian: Pemberlakuan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat, commonly referred to as the PPKM) in all provinces to level 3 again from December 24 to January 2.
During the implementation of the PPKM level 3, new year celebrations, including fireworks, parades and social activities, will be banned. Malls, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets can only receive 50% of the guest capacity, and religious activities, including Christmas mass, will also be limited. The government may also make adjustments to domestic travel requirements during this period.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government is also accelerating the pace of vaccination, hoping to let more people to complete their vaccination before the year-end holiday. According to the Ministry of Health of Indonesia, the government has launched a mass vaccination program for nearly a year. 135.4 million people, which is half of the population, have received their first vaccination, and as many as 90.2 million people have completed vaccination. The authorities plan to start supplementary vaccination for adults when more than half of the population has completed vaccination.