"Let us become more vigilant, especially ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays," the minister noted in a written statement received here, Friday.
Although the COVID-19 case count in Indonesia had declined, the pandemic is not completely over. Moreover, reflecting on previous experience, the spike in cases occurred due to the high mobility of people during the Christmas and New Year holidays, Effendy added.
"We just witnessed the end of the second wave of the pandemic. We did not want a third wave to strike, especially after the long holidays. We must pay attention to the COVID-19 outbreak," he stated.
The government had taken anticipatory steps to increase vigilance in handling COVID-19 during the Christmas and New Year holidays, including through the implementation of level 3 of Community Mobility Restrictions (PPKM) all across Indonesia from December 24, 2021, to January 2, 2022.
The policy encompasses tightening people's mobility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, special surveillance is being conducted at churches during the Christmas celebrations and at shopping areas and local tourist sites.
Effendy remarked that religious organizations could play a role in assisting the government to support the handling of COVID-19 during the implementation of PPKM level 3 during the holiday season.
"They can disseminate information and appeal to all members of the congregation to not travel for homecoming or for non-primary purposes. Christians must also implement strict health protocols during Christmas masses," he remarked.
He lauded the contribution of the Christian Batak Protestant Huria (HKBP) religious organization during the COVID-19 pandemic that provided assistance and empowered the community, especially the underprivileged affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
"I am grateful for the contribution of the HKBP organization, which really has a big impact on the community. We need to work together to bring this pandemic to an end," Effendy added.