Indonesia: President Attends Celebrity Youtuber’s Wedding During Lockdown

Widodo Wedding
Secretariat Negara/Twitter.com

Indonesian President Joko Widodo attended a celebrity wedding in Jakarta on Saturday along with hundreds of other people, despite a government crackdown on large gatherings during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic over the past year.

President Widodo, also known as “Jokowi,” attended the wedding of Indonesian YouTuber Atta Halilintar and actress Aurel Hermansyah at the luxurious Raffles Hotel in Jakarta on April 3. Widodo joined “hundreds of esteemed guests, including other [Indonesian] politicians and celebrities” at the ceremony, local news outlet Coconuts Jakarta reported on April 5.

The Indonesian government seemed to openly flaunt Widodo’s attendance at the wedding, with the Indonesian State Secretariat sharing photos of the ceremony via his official Twitter account on April 3. The photos show Widodo serving as a witness during the couple’s vow exchange.

Widodo’s attendance at the glamorous wedding “has invited massive scorn” from Indonesian citizens, Coconuts Jakarta reported Monday. Many social media users have replied to the Indonesian Secretariat’s wedding tweet by reposting “viral videos and news clippings showing authorities clamping down harshly on people holding wedding receptions due to COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] restrictions” over the past year, according to the news site.

Jakarta’s Tourism and Creative Economy Agency warned last fall that it would “disperse public wedding receptions held in the capital city while the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) are in force to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” referring to restricted movement during periods of government-mandated lockdown due to the pandemic. Jakarta was most recently under PSBB restrictions in January.

“There are many paradoxes in this country. Mudik [homecoming travel before the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday in Indonesia] is banned, but tourist destinations are opening in unison. They shut major roads, but there are traffic jams everywhere. They make it difficult for regular people to obtain permission to hold wedding receptions, but a celebrity wedding is attended by state officials,” Indonesian musician Fiersa Besari commented on Twitter on April 3.

Widodo was the first person in Indonesia to receive a dose of CoronaVac, a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine candidate, on January 12. Jokowi received the injection live on national television to promote the launch of the Indonesian government’s Chinese coronavirus vaccine drive.

It remains unclear if the wedding’s other guests have also been vaccinated.

China’s state-run biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech developed CoronaVac, which has an efficacy rating of just 50.38 percent. Indonesia is among several countries outside China that have purchased large batches of CoronaVac to incorporate into their domestic coronavirus vaccination campaigns.

Indonesia’s health ministry said in January that it set a goal of administering CoronaVac to “[n]early 1.5 million medical workers … by February, followed by public servants and the general population within 15 months.”

Indonesia, which has a population of nearly 271 million people,  recorded 1,537,967 infections and 41,815 deaths from the Chinese coronavirus as of April 5.

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