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Jakarta extends large-scale social restrictions, curbs to be lifted in stages

Jakarta extends large-scale social restrictions, curbs to be lifted in stages

Red Cross staff wearing protective suits spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

JAKARTA: Jakarta's COVID-19 curbs will be lifted in stages, beginning with the reopening of places of worship on Friday (Jun 5), as the government extended the large-scale social restrictions for the third time.

While Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan did not specify a time frame for this latest round of extension, he said June would be the first transition period for businesses and facilities to open again with strict health protocols in place. 

For a start, people can visit places of worship and use outdoor sports facilities on Friday, he said in a televised press conference on Thursday. 

Restaurants and shops, which are not located in malls, can open for business next Monday. Offices can also resume operations on Monday, with half of the employees continue to work from home. 

“In principle, we want to ensure that every person's movement will not increase the risk of (COVID-19) infection,” Mr Baswedan said.

READ: Bali's tourism industry expected to reopen in July, says Indonesian planning minister

Jakarta has implemented the large-scale social restrictions since Apr 10. With more than 7,500 cases and about 530 deaths so far, it is the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia.

More than 28,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Indonesia. Earlier in May, the country's statistics agency announced that the gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2020 grew by 2.97 per cent year-on-year, the lowest since 2001.  

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan at President Joko Widodo's inauguration ceremony on Oct 20, 2019. (File photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

Mr Baswedan said the Jakarta government decided to ease some rules as the spread of the virus has slowed down, as indicated by the decrease in COVID-19 deaths and cases, among others. 

However, he cautioned that he would not hesitate to apply the "emergency brake" and impose the restrictions again if there is a sharp rise in cases.

"If we lack discipline, if there are crowds, shopping centres are open without adhering to health protocols ... if offices insist everyone should work at the same time to hit their target, if mass prayers are still performed (without health protocols in place) … then the consequence is we could see a rise in cases as what had happened in previous months,” the governor said.

READ: Indonesian military and police to enforce social distancing under ‘new normal’ scenario, says Jokowi


Meanwhile, shopping malls will be allowed to reopen on Jun 15, while people can start visiting recreational parks on Jun 21 and 22.

However, schools, private learning institutions and daycare centres have to remain closed during this transition phase.

Mr Baswedan said strict measures will still be enforced in 66 community units, which have a high number of COVID-19 cases.

The capital may enter a second transition phase in July if everything goes well, the governor added. 

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Source: CNA/ks


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