JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Indonesia has decided to overhaul its holiday schedule, following a Covid-19 surge that saw about 10 thousand new daily cases after the Islamic Eid al-Fitr or Idul Fitri holidays last May.
The policy is based on President Joko Widodo's order to review national holidays and collective leave that is determined under the joint Ministerial decree signed by the Ministers of Manpower, Religious Affairs as well as Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform.
"The government has decided to phase out collective leave for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, namely on Christmas Eve," said Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Efendy in a virtual press conference on Friday, June 18.
"We will also reschedule the 1443 Hijriah Islamic New Year holiday by one day from Tuesday, August 10 to Wednesday, August 11. We will do the same with the holiday celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad SAW," he added.
"The latter originally fell on October 19, but will be shifted to the next day on October 20."
Muhadjir’s decision came, a day after Indonesia's Covid-19 Task Force is considering filing a formal request to scrap long holidays, such as Christmas and New Year's Day as well as Eid al-Fitr or Idul Fitri, for the time being.
"Covid-19 cases often spike in the wake of long holidays, leading to higher mortality rates. Much of this is caused by the public's higher mobility," said Covid-19 Task force head for Behavioral Changes Sonny Harry B. Harmadi in a virtual discussion on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, this surge in mobility is not balanced by compliance with health protocols. That is why I am urging [the Covid-19 Task Force] to step up enforcement of health protocols such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and washing one's hands with soap."