Indonesia’s COVID-19 task force has identified clusters of the disease in religious facilities in the capital, highlighting the need for better compliance of health protocols at places of worship.
In a press conference today, task force expert staffer Dewi Nur Aisyah revealed data on clusters that have emerged since Jakarta began transitioning away from its Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) partial lockdown protocol on June 5.
The transition period involves the easing of restrictions on public activities, including religious events, which experts believe contributed to the emergence of COVID-19 clusters at places of worship.
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According to the task force, during this period, three clusters have emerged from churches, affecting 29 people; three clusters have emerged from mosques, affecting 11 people; one cluster has emerged at a clergy house, affecting 41 people; one cluster has emerged at an Islamic boarding school, affecting four people; and one cluster has emerged from a funeral wake, affecting 29 people.
“This is why we must remind the public. If there is a social activity, a gathering, people must make sure that health protocols are obeyed. The proof is here in that one cluster can affect so many people,” Dewi said, referring to the clergy house cluster in particular.
That said, the number of clusters from religious facilities is relatively low. By comparison, the task force has identified 90 clusters and 459 cases from offices in Jakarta, 107 clusters and 555 cases from traditional markets, 124 clusters and 799 cases from healthcare facilities, and 283 clusters and 1,178 cases from residential zones.
There is, however, a concern for new clusters to emerge from the upcoming Eid al-Adha rituals and celebrations this coming Friday. The government and Islamic organizations have urged Muslims to stay at home during the religious holiday, but whether or not the public will comply remains to be seen.
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