Epidemiologist questions government decision to allow places of worship to open

CNN Indonesia – July 11, 2021
Crowed mosque in Banda Aceh during Friday prayers – April 3, 2020 (Antara)

Jakarta – University of Indonesia epidemiologist Pandu Riono is questioning the grounds for the government changing the emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM) rules on places of worship. As has been reported, places of worship are now allowed to open.

Riono said that the emergency PPKM is in force to bring down the number of Covid-19 cases. He said that the aim of the policy has not yet been achieved yet the government has already loosened the restrictions.

"If cases have not yet declined, then adjustments are made, that has to be questioned. Why has there been a change?", said Riono when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Sunday July 11.

Riono does not have a problem with the government changing the regulations under the emergency PPKM, but he warned that all changes must be made after mature consideration.

He said that the government must explain in detail the reasons for the change. According to Riono, the public needs clarity on all regulations which are in force.

"If there is to be a change then it really must be thought about maturely, not because of protests by the public", said Riono.

According to Riono, the revisions on places of worship will confuse the public and he is scornful of the government's tendency of frequently changing policies on handling the pandemic.

"Forget about it, let the public be confused. The one making them confused is the government, right. What do you actually want, it's unclear, right? Why was it changed? Why was it banned before? There must be a [clear] argument", he said.

Earlier the government issued Interior Affairs Ministerial Instruction (Inmendagri) Number 19/2021 which revised restrictions on activities in places of worship during the emergency PPKM.

In the instruction the government declared that all places of worship may open temporarily. Under the new rule, the government will no longer close places of worship but ask that they not organise religious activities. (dhf/bmw)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ahli Sebut Pembukaan Tempat Ibadah Buat Masyarakat Bingung".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210711122613-20-666075/ahli-sebut-pembukaan-tempat-ibadah-buat-masyarakat-bingung