President's Message Is Not Enough
Learning from cases in India and Thailand, religious celebrations or holidays, if not accompanied by discipline in health protocols, can trigger an increase in Covid-19 cases that brings the number even much higher.
Last week, President Joko Widodo, through the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube account, conveyed a message asking people to refrain from the traditional Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) this year around. However, such an appeal is not enough.
President Jokowi's explanation was very clear. The government has banned the exodus because it has learned from four previous experiences. During the 2020 Idul Fitri holiday, the public holiday periods from 20-23 August 2020 and from 28 October-1 November 2020 as well as the Christmas and New Year holidays from 24 December 2020-3 January 2021, there was an extraordinary increase in daily Covid-19 cases and weekly mortality rates. The number of daily active cases skyrocketed from 78 to 119 percent and weekly death rates soared from 46 to 75 percent from before.