Gov’t Tightens Return Procedures for Athletes after 20th National Games
In a bid to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases following the 20th National Games (PON), the Government has announced it will tighten the return procedures for athletes, coaches, and officials.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, who helms the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery (KPCPEN) asked Minister of Health, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Head of COVID-19 Task Force to continue to carry out duties and supervise PON participants who are still in Papua until D+5 after the PON closing ceremony on 15 October 2021.
“Minister of Health should assign teams to continue to monitor athletes who are still in Papua and to care for athletes who are exposed to COVID-19. They must first be isolated in Papua and be tested until the 5th day. This will apply until D+5 after the closing ceremony of the PON, including in centralized isolation ships in Papua. Minister of Transportation should continue to assign teams until D+5,” Airlangga said virtually at the Coordination Meeting for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Implementation of the 20th National Games, Sunday (10/10).
The procedures are contained in the addendum to the Circular of Head of the COVID-19 Task Force. According to the procedures, the athletes, coaches, and officials must carry out a PCR test before their departure from Papua to their respective regions. They should also carry out another PCR test upon arrival at the airport in their regions.
Afterward, they must also self-quarantine for five days at locations prepared by their respective regional governments. In a case where the regional government does not provide the facilities, the Central COVID-19 Task Force will work with the Regional COVID-19 Task Force and Regional Sports Council to prepare the centralized isolation facilities.
Furthermore, the Chairperson of KPCPEN underscored that Minister of Youth and Sports, Head of COVID-19 Task Force, the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI)/the National Police (Polri) Operation Assistants, and the General Chairperson of the Indonesian National Sport Committee (KONI) as the Supervisory and Steering Committee should continue to monitor the implementation of health protocols strictly for the remaining PON matches, especially for matches with a potential crowd of spectators or supporters, such as football, basketball, boxing, and volleyball.
“Then, the athlete residences must also be monitored. Because in one room, there are several athletes, so if one of them is exposed, the athlete must be immediately brought to centralized isolation facilities and the roommates must also be immediately tested and close contact tracing must be carried out,” he said.
For the record, as of 9 October 2021, the number of athletes who were exposed to COVID-19 at the event is 45 athletes or around 0.45 percent of the 10,066 athletes and officials at the event.
In detail, 34 people are receiving medical treatment (eight people in Jayapura city, 15 people in Jayapura regency, one in Mimika regency, and 12 people in Merauke regency). As many as nine people have recovered (six people in Jayapura city and three people in Mimika regency). On 9 October alone, there are two additional daily cases, one each in Jayapura city and Merauke regency. (PR of Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs/UN) (FI/MUR)