WHO warns mall opening could trigger spike in Covid-19 cases

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 The World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted the Indonesian government's decision to start easing some community activities in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of them is by allowing malls, shopping centers and restaurants to resume operations.

WHO is concerned that the easing of social restrictions could trigger an increase in mobility which will lead to a surge in positive cases of Covid-19. They also urged the Indonesian government to respond to increased mobility in the midst of the pandemic due to the easing.

"The formulation of concrete plans and urgent actions is very important to anticipate and mitigate the impact of increasing citizen mobility on the transmission of Covid-19 and the capacity of health systems at national and regional levels," the WHO report said, quoted Friday (20/8).

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, Monday (16/8), said that during the trial of opening malls on August 9-16, 1.02 million people visited the mall. Of that total, 691 people were refused entry because they did not comply with the provisions, such as not being registered and having been vaccinated in the Care Protect application.

In a monitoring report on the Covid-19 situation in Indonesia on Wednesday (18/8), WHO stated that although the Level 4 Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) were extended to 23 August, the Indonesian government had lifted a number of mobility restrictions since 26 July, especially at train stations. transit, restaurants and shopping centers, as well as recreational areas on the islands of Java and Banten.

Based on WHO monitoring, the trend of citizen mobility in Java, especially West Java, Central Java and Banten, has increased significantly, almost the same as before the pandemic emerged.

Overall, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia has decreased after experiencing a spike in cases due to the Delta variant last July. However, the WHO also highlighted that the number of tests carried out to detect cases was also decreasing.

A number of provinces also still report high transmission rates at the community level in terms of weekly Covid-19 incidents per 100,000 population, weekly confirmed Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 population and test positive proportions ranging from 22 to 57%.

 The provinces in question are North Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Bangka Belitung, Yogyakarta, Bali and Central Sulawesi.

"Continued implementation of public health and social control measures and accelerated vaccination is needed to reduce cases of transmission and death of Covid-19 in this province," the WHO wrote.

For information, in the extension of PPKM levels 1-4 Java-Bali until the next 23, the government provides several relaxations, including allowing shopping centers to operate with a maximum capacity of 50% and restaurants being allowed to serve dine-in or eating at places with a maximum capacity of 25%. or two people per table.

This is stated in the Instruction of the Minister of Home Affairs Number 34 of 2021 which was signed by the Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian on Monday (16/8).

 In the regulation, a number of areas with PPKM level 4 categories such as DKI Jakarta, Tangerang City, Tangerang Regency, South Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Bogor Regency, and Bekasi Regency are tested for opening malls and shopping centers.

Meanwhile, visitors and employees of malls or shopping centers are required to use the PeduliLindung application for screening. However, children under the age of 12 are still prohibited from visiting malls or shopping centers.

In addition to the Greater Jakarta area, the relaxation of this regulation also applies to the cities of Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, Cimahi, West Bandung Regency, Bandung Regency, Sumedang Regency, Sidoarjo Regency, Mojokerto Regency, Lamongan Regency, Gresik Regency, and Bangkalan Regency.

Source: Katadata

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