JAKARTA - The crowd of residents was inevitable when President Joko Widodo visited the Province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), yesterday. This incident was criticized by the Australian Griffith University epidemiologist, Dicky Budiman.
Dicky thinks that the presidential team guarding Jokowi should understand that the visit of the Head of State in the public sphere can invite people who want to greet him. Then, we can anticipate potential crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The presidential team who prepared this visit should have anticipated that public awareness of the health protocol (Prokes) is low," said Dicky when contacted, Wednesday, February 24.
Then, Jokowi should also remind his subordinates that the current pandemic condition is still worrying. As President of the Republic of Indonesia, Jokowi must set an example that activities that invite crowds should be avoided.
"We must remind each other in conditions like this, because exemplary is needed. Activities like this must be avoided, both in central and regional officials, until our situation is controlled, namely our positivity rate is below 5 percent," said Dicky.
Dicky is worried about the emergence of a cluster of COVID-19 transmission from the crowd. Therefore, in the future, government officials will avoid activities that invite enthusiastic citizens to gather.
"Being in such a crowd does not mean there is no risk. This must be maintained. He is our President. So, such activities are not only in the context of not setting an example but also dangerous for the President even though he has been vaccinated," he explained.
For information, a video has been circulating that records Jokowi greeting residents during a work visit in NTT. Jokowi's car was surrounded by many residents.
Jokowi greeted him by waving his hand from the top of the opened car hood, aka the sunroof. From the video, it seemed the crowd was inevitable. This was confirmed by the Head of the Press, Media and Information Bureau of the Presidential Secretariat, Bey Machmudin. Bey said the incident was in Maumere, NTT.
"It is true that the video in Maumere. On arrival in Maumere, the President and his entourage continued their journey to the Napun Gete Dam," Bey told reporters, Tuesday, February 23.
Then, when greeting residents, Bey said Jokowi also reminded him to continue wearing masks like the ones he used. In addition, Jokowi also distributed souvenirs to appreciate the enthusiasm of the people.
"It was the president's spontaneity to appreciate the enthusiasm of the people. The souvenirs included books, t-shirts and masks. But the point is, the president still reminds people to adhere to health protocols," said Bey.
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