As Indonesia battles for a fierce second major wave of the COVID-19 crisis, Vice President Ma’ruf Amin has encouraged Indonesians to visit Raja Ampat in West Papua.
But, Mr. Amin inviting Indonesians also observing health protocols.
Talk during his keynote speech at a virtual festival on Raja Ampat yesterday, he said, “I am inviting all of us to travel to Raja Ampat, which is famous for its natural beauty and culture. Travel with health protocols observed.”
The vice president was promoting a government program known as the Proud Travel Movement (Gerakan Bangga Berwisata) aimed at accelerating the recovery of Indonesia’s tourism sector.
It was only on Sunday that Indonesia recorded all-time daily infections high of 21,342 cases. Officials say the recent case surge was triggered by increased mobility (read: travel) during the Eid holiday in May and the simultaneous emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The country has seen increasing reports of inundated hospitals, oxygen tanks running low, and infected health workers, as more and more Indonesians seek help through social media to secure hospital beds or oxygen supply for their family members or friends who are sick with COVID-19.
In addition, Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua have been facing the challenge of limited health facilities and workers during the pandemic, further raising questions on the wisdom of encouraging travel to the region at this time.