"The choice to ban this homecoming is a very strategic choice, and we all have to follow this decision," Monardo remarked during a discussion conducted by the West Merdeka Forum 9 here on Wednesday.
With key takeaways from the past long holiday period during the pandemic, when scores of people embarked on travel, it would be followed by an increase in active cases and the death rate.
The task force head cited as examples the long Eid al-Fitr holidays in August 2020, Christmas 2020, and New Year as the mortality rate had jumped between 46-75 percent, and active cases were up by 70-116 percent.
"Hence, these were very high. Each time there was an extended (holiday), it was followed by an increase in the number of active cases, a rise in the number of patients at hospitals, and (the occupancy rate of) ICU and isolation care rooms jumped by more than 80 percent. In January last year, (ICU room occupation rate in) several provinces reached more than 100 percent. Hence, patients had to be moved to outside the province," he noted.
The task force head affirmed that the increase in the number of confirmed cases during the holidays last year was followed by a very high daily death rate, which was over 250 people per day.
Moreover, healthcare workers fighting on the front lines against COVID-19 also became victims of the virus infection.
Hence, Monardo expressed belief that the government's decision to ban homecoming was the right choice to prevent the spread and exposure of COVID-19.
Last year, Indonesia had held simultaneous regional head elections (pilkada) in 270 regions to elect governors, district heads, and mayors, involving more than 100 million eligible voters. The election campaign period was conducted from September 26 to December 5, 2020, while the polling day was on December 9.
The government had earlier remarked that pilkada did not cause a COVID-19 cluster, as health protocol measures against COVID-19 were applied comprehensively.
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