Indonesians celebrate Eid al-Adha festival under COVID-19 curbs

Indonesians celebrate Eid al-Adha festival under COVID-19 curbs

Indonesia has recorded more than 2.9 million cases and nearly 75,000 deaths but testing and tracing
Indonesia has recorded more than 2.9 million cases and nearly 75,000 deaths but testing and tracing rates are low and experts believe the true figure is far higher. (Photo: AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

JAKARTA: Millions of Muslims in Indonesia on Tuesday (Jul 20) celebrated Eid al-Adha, one of the most important Islamic festivals, as President Joko Widodo pledged that tighter COVID-19 restrictions would remain in place until infections dropped.

COVID-19 cases in Indonesia are currently among the highest in the world due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, despite the imposition since early this month of the strictest mobility restrictions so far during the pandemic.

Surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Banjarmasin
Indonesian Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers at a mosque in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan province, Indonesia on Jul 20, 2021/ (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Bayu Pratama S)
​​​​​​​

This week marks the second time during the pandemic Indonesia has celebrated Eid al-Adha, which
This week marks the second time during the pandemic Indonesia has celebrated Eid al-Adha, which signals the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. (Photo: AFP/Abdul Hadi)

Jokowi, as the president is widely known, advised Indonesians to celebrate Eid al-Adha at home following strict health protocols to prevent infections. Police and transport authorities have also set up checkpoints to prevent travel in the world's largest Muslim majority nation.

In a streamed statement on the eve of the holiday, Jokowi said movement restrictions will only be lifted once cases have dropped, noting new variants meant the pandemic was not over.

In Jakarta and elsewhere, some heeded an official request not to go inside mosques but instead
In Jakarta and elsewhere, some heeded an official request not to go inside mosques but instead gathered to pray on nearby roads. (Photo: AFP/Dasril Roszandi)

A surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Bogor
Indonesian Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers at a mosque in Bogor, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Jul 20, 2021.(Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

"Imagine if this restriction is loosened and then the cases increase again and the hospitals are unable to contain the patients. This would cause our health facilities to collapse," he said.

The health system in some areas has been pushed to breaking point by a deluge of patients and on Monday Indonesia reported a record 1,338 coronavirus deaths.

Surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Surabaya
Indonesian Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers on the street in Surabaya, East Java province, Indonesia on Jul 20, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Didik Suhartono)

Surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Bandung
Indonesian Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers on the street in Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia on Jul 20, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Raisan Al Farisi)

Tuesday is the last day of the restriction period in Java and Bali and some other places across the archipelago and the government is expected to announce a decision soon on an extension.

The government has said it wants daily infections to come down to 10,000. While the number of infections on Monday at 34,257 was the lowest since Jul 6, the positivity rate remained high at 26.9 per cent and infections have been repeatedly around 50,000 in the past week when testing rates were higher.

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Indonesia
Muslims pray spaced apart during an Eid al-Adha prayer at Zona Madina mosque in Bogor, Indonesia on Jul 20, 2021. (Photo: AP/Tatan Syuflana)

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Indonesia
Indonesian Muslims perform Eid al-Adha prayers at a mosque in Lhokseumawe, Aceh province, Indonesia on Jul 20, 2021. (Photo: AP/Zik Maulana)

Muslims mark Eid al-Adha by slaughtering animals such as cattle and goats and the meat is shared among family and also donated to the poor.

Many mosques plan to distribute the meat donation door-to-door to prevent large gatherings, local media reported, though a number of mosque were reported to have flouted the COVID-19 restrictions and held mass prayers.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram

Source: Reuters/zl

Bookmark