No ‘panjat pinang’ or ‘lomba makan kerupuk’ as Jakarta bans Independence Day games

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

Independence Day festivities are officially banned this year amid the pandemic, with Jakarta extending its partial lockdown beyond Indonesia’s anniversary on Aug. 17.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan yesterday extended the transitional phase of the Large-Scale Social Restrictions protocol, locally known as PSBB Transisi, for two more weeks, which will now go on until Aug. 27 pending further extensions. The decision to extend PSBB Transisi largely owes to a spike COVID-19 cases in Jakarta in recent weeks.

Speaking specifically about the upcoming Indonesian Independence Day, Anies said that citizens are allowed to hold flag-raising ceremonies with a limited number of participants. 

“Ceremonies are relatively controllable because the distance between the standing participants can be adjusted, down to the procedures [according to COVID-19 health protocols],” he said in a written official statement.

However, Anies told the public to tone down Independence Day festivities, which traditionally includes outdoor games such as tug-of war, lomba makan kerupuk (Indonesian deep fried crackers eating competition), and panjat pinang (greasy pole climbing).

“Games that are usually held [on Independence Day] should not be held, because those competitions may cause uncontrollable crowds,” he said.

Separately, the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) said that it would allow small Independence Day gatherings and games but disperse larger crowds in accordance with PSBB protocol. However, the agency’s statement came a day before Anies’ statement, and no specific Independence Day-related sanctions have been announced since.

In addition, the provincial government also moved to temporarily halt Car Free Day (CFD), which was recently still permitted in dozens of areas in the capital.

Ever since PSBB Transisi was enforced on June 4, Jakarta saw a gradual increase of new COVID-19 cases. Prior to the policy, Jakarta regularly registered around 100 new cases per day, but ever since PSBB Transisi was enforced, 200 new cases daily has become the norm, especially last month. The record for highest daily counts occurred during PSBB Transisi, with 665 and 686 new cases on Aug. 7 and 8, respectively, according to Health Ministry data.

Jakarta recorded 608 additional COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the provincial total to 27,761. The total number includes 970 deaths and 17,836 recoveries.

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