The government is urging everyone to prioritize health measures during the Christmas and New Year (Nataru) 2023-2024 holidays. This appeal, emphasized by Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno, comes as Covid-19 cases are on the rise again in Indonesia. The goal is to ensure a safe holiday season with minimal impact on tourism and the creative economy.
“Let’s continue following health measures protocols as we did during the New Normal. Remember the importance of handwashing and wearing masks, especially when in the presence of individuals who may be unwell. Additionally, ensure you complete your vaccine doses. This applies to everyone, not just tourists but all stakeholders in the tourism and creative economy sectors,” urged Sandiaga in his statement on Monday (25/12/2023).
The Ministry of Health has reported a recent surge in Covid-19 cases. From December 6 to 19, there were 2,548 active cases, marking a 243% increase within the week.
Therefore, as previously reported, the Ministry of Transportation (Kemenhub) has opted not to implement travel restrictions ahead of the anticipated Christmas and New Year holiday season in 2024. However, the ministry has issued a series of recommendations, notably urging travelers to reinstate the use of masks.
Adita Irawati, the spokesperson for Kemenhub, highlighted that extensive meetings were held with relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health, to address the escalating Covid-19 situation in the country. Following these discussions and taking into account the current circumstances, Adita indicated that Kemenhub would adopt mitigating measures in the form of advisories and suggestions for prospective passengers, transportation operators, and other involved parties.
“Considering the situation, our current focus is on providing recommendations and intensifying supervision,” Adita stated during a press briefing at the Kemenhub headquarters in Jakarta on Tuesday (19/12/2023).
In parallel, a new variant of the coronavirus, known as the JN.1 variant, has surfaced in Indonesia. The World Health Organization has classified Covid JN.1 as a variant of interest, noting a low risk associated with it.
As reported by Reuters, Covid JN.1 has the potential to evade the immune system and spread more easily compared to other circulating variants. However, it has not shown signs of causing more severe illness.
Currently, JN.1 is contributing significantly to Covid-19 cases, particularly in the United States. The US CDC stated that as of December 8, 2023, JN.1 accounted for approximately 15-29% of cases. Stay informed and take precautions to ensure a safe and healthy holiday season.