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Malls shut, dining-in banned as Indonesia unveils broad emergency COVID-19 curbs in Java and Bali

Malls shut, dining-in banned as Indonesia unveils broad emergency COVID-19 curbs in Java and Bali

A woman receives a shot of the Sinovac vaccine for COVID-19 during a vaccination campaign at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, July 1, 2021.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA: The Indonesian government has unveiled broad emergency community restrictions on Thursday (Jul 1) for the islands of Java and Bali, as the country battles a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Under the PPKM (community-level public activity restrictions enforcement) Emergency which will be implemented from Jul 3 to Jul 20, all malls will have to be shut while dining-in will be banned.

In a televised statement, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said that the restrictions must be enforced as the country has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases of about 230 per cent since the end of May. 

"I believe our preparation (for the PPKM Emergency) is the most maximum," said Mr Pandjaitan.

"So now we must implement it firmly and measuredly."

The minister said that restaurants, cafes and street food vendors can only serve customers for take-aways.  

He also said that people's movements will be restricted according to the sectors that they work in. There are three different categories, namely non-essential, essential and critical sectors.

All employees in the critical sectors can work in the office. These sectors includes energy, health, security, logistics and transportation, food industry, petrochemical as well as utilities among others that supply basic daily needs.

Those in the essential sectors can work in the office with a maximum capacity of 50 per cent and under strict health protocols. 

These sectors include finance and banking, payment systems, information and communication technology, hotels that do not handle COVID-19 patients as well as export industries.

Meanwhile, all employees in the non-essential sectors must work from home.

READ: Indonesia's COVID-19 situation nears 'catastrophe', says Red Cross

Grocery stores, supermarkets, minimarkets, and wet markets can be operational until 8pm with a capacity of 50 per cent, while pharmacies can operate for 24 hours. 

All students must study from home. Places of worship, sports facilities, and public facilities such as parks must shut.

Wedding receptions can be held with a maximum of 30 people and no dining-in, while public transport may operate with a maximum of 70 per cent capacity. 

People who want to travel by plane, bus or train must at least be vaccinated once and present their vaccination card. They must also have a negative PCR test that is taken two days prior to boarding a flight.

A health care worker holds a baby born from a mother who contracted coronavirus disease (COVID-19) inside the emergency ward for COVID-19 at a government-run hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Indonesia has been grappling with a spike in COVID-19 cases after the Idul Fitri holiday in mid-May.

While the spike in cases has been seen in many provinces, the new PPKM Emergency will only be enforced in Java and Bali where many areas have been classified as level 3 or 4. 

Authorities have classified regions in Indonesia into four levels with level 1 being the safest and level 4 showing the highest levels of transmission. 

The levels are determined by World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that 50 confirmed cases daily per 100,000 people would be considered level 4. 

There are 48 regencies or cities in Java and Bali which are classified as level 4. Seventy-four regencies and cities are classified as level 3, according to the government.

As of Thursday, Indonesia recorded 2,203,108 cases and 58,995 deaths.

The new curbs are stricter than current regulations which allow malls to operate until 8pm, while restaurants are allowed to serve diners at up to 25 per cent of their capacity. 

READ: Jokowi aims to vaccinate 7.5 million Jakartans by end August, but experts say herd immunity is not a given

Since Indonesia announced its first COVID-19 cases in early March last year, the government has opted against total lockdowns at the national level that would bar people from freely leaving their homes.

In late March last year, president Joko Widodo signed a regulation for cities and provinces to enforce large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) under which non-essential workers must work from home, students had to study at home and places of worship were closed. 

PSBB curbs were relaxed earlier this year and PPKM was introduced, which allows local leaders to restrict movement within their communities. PPKM is currently in force in all 34 provinces.

Indonesia is currently battling a new wave of COVID-19 infections and logged a record 24,836 new cases on Thursday as well as 504 deaths. 

The hike in cases is predicted to continue until at least the beginning of July as previous holidays tended to result in a spike of infections up to seven weeks. 

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Source: CNA/ks

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