Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has called Indonesians to improve discipline in wearing masks and implementing health protocols to curb the Covid-19 spread, which has been on the rise again and broke new daily records in the past 24 hours.
"We must remain disciplined in taking care of ourselves, especially wearing masks," Jokowi said on his official account on Twitter on Thursday.
He also asked the public to stay at home to reduce the potential for contracting Covid-19.
“I ask this one simple thing, stay at home if there is no urgent need [to go out for]. Only together we can stop this epidemic," Jokowi said.
Indonesia reported 15,308 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily record, reflecting a faster spread of the disease among the 270 million population. The world's 4th most populous country reported a total of 2.03 million cases today, the highest in Southeast Asia and 18th in the world, according to data collected by Worldometer.com.
The death toll has also risen by 303 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 55,594. One in 37 Covid-19 infections ended up in death.
Health officials blamed family gatherings following the Idul Fitri holiday with lax health protocols and new variants of concern for the spike.
A tradition in many parts of the Muslim majority country for people to gather for a holiday or make a pilgrimage to holy sites and family burials. The government put a travel ban in the week before and after the holiday. So, people make their travel arrangements after the travel ban.
These included migrant workers coming back from abroad, bringing along with them more infectious virus variants — like Delta, first detected in India.
Previously, President Jokowi stated that the government chose to implement micro-scale restrictions on community activities (PPKM Mikro) instead of an indiscriminate lockdown to suppress the transmission rate of the Covid-19 outbreak and the emergence of new variants.
Jokowi said PPKM Mikro in the pandemic epicenters like West Java, Jakarta, and Central Java.
"PPKM Mikro and lockdown is basically similar, limiting community activities. There is no need to argue," Jokowi said during a press statement at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, on Wednesday.
The president said that he is optimistic that PPKM Mikro, implemented properly, could control the pandemic.