Protesters wear masks during an International Women's Day march in Solo, Central Java, on Sunday. (Antara Photo/Maulana Surya)

Major Public Events in Jakarta Canceled Amid Covid-19 Fears


MARCH 10, 2020

Jakarta. Several major events in Jakarta have been either canceled, postponed or allowed to go through as long as extra precautions are taken by organizers as the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country spreads fear of a widespread outbreak.

The Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia, especially Jakarta, has forced companies and event organizers to either cancel, postpone or cautiously go through with their plans since large public gatherings are a perfect place for the virus to travel around.

The LEAP Summit, one of the biggest conferences on women's issues in the country, that was supposed to be held on March 4-6 has been postponed. The organizers had already invited 90 speakers and the event was expected to attract around 3,000 participants.

"We're still trying to reschedule the dates. We will ask for the government's advice on when to proceed with the event, only when the situation is safe again," Aris Hendrawan, the LEAP Summit's publicist, told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.


Meanwhile, a press meeting with Singapore-based Bigo Technology was canceled because the company's officials were worried by the accelerating spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia. A speaker from Bigo was supposed to arrive in Jakarta from Singapore on Monday.

"Our press meeting in Indonesia has been canceled along with our other events in some countries. We're following the Singapore Foreign Ministry's travel guidelines," Mike Ong, Bigo's vice president of government relations, told the Jakarta Globe.

Indonesia has reported 27 cases of the Covid-19 disease since March 1, with the latest case, Patient 27, indicating a local contagion from an unknown source. 

Despite the numerous cancelations and delays, some events did go through with beefed up security and health precautions, even if it's only advising participants to avoid shaking hands with anyone.

The Women's March in Central Jakarta on International Women's Day on Sunday had a medical team ready on-site in case participants fell ill. The organizers of the march also told people to wear facemasks and bring hand sanitizers.

"We have 20 medical volunteers on site, and we told people not to come to the rally if they're sick. But we're not going to do a temperature check," Mutiara Ika Pratiwi, the coordinator of the march, said to the Jakarta Globe.

The march was attended by thousands of people in Central Jakarta who walked slowly together for nearly three hours from the Sarinah intersection to the State Palace. Many of them did wear facemasks.

The Indonesian Ulema Council has also told Muslims to avoid mass gatherings, including tabligh akbar, or public lectures – a popular event that usually attracts crowds of thousands. 

Official guidelines on Covid-19 prevention from the government has not included advice against mass gatherings.

The Health Ministry has told people to limit the spread of the virus by frequently washing their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap or rubbing alcohol, keeping their home and public facilities clean, maintaining good personal health and hygiene, eating healthy food and wearing facemask and quickly reporting to the health authorities when suffering from fever, cough or shortness of breath.  

Indonesia has also advised against traveling to countries where cases of Covid-19 have been reported and closed its borders to visitors from China and several regions in Italy, Iran and South Korea.