Jakarta to return to large-scale social restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to rise: City governor

Jakarta to return to large-scale social restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to rise: City governor

FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Jakarta
Government workers wearing protective suits carry a mock-up of a coffin of a COVID-19 victim on the sidewalk of a main road to warn people about the dangers of the disease as the outbreak continues in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug 28, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

JAKARTA: Jakarta’s Governor Anies Baswedan said on Wednesday (Sep 9) that the city will return to large-scale social restrictions, amid a continuous increase in the number of daily infections. 

In an address, Mr Baswedan said he decided to pull the "emergency brake" as Jakarta continued to grapple with an increasing COVID-19 fatality rate, as well as limited isolation wards and intensive care unit (ICU) rooms for coronavirus patients. 

The COVID-19-linked mortality rate in Jakarta has increased since mid-August, the governor revealed. 

Jakarta currently has 4,053 isolation beds, 77 per cent of which are occupied. If the emergency brake is not pulled, the remaining beds could be fully occupied by Sep 17, said Mr Baswedan. 

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Similarly, the governor said he fears that the 528 ICU beds will all be used up by Sep 15 if measures are not taken. 

“Based on the three data, the mortality rate, the use of isolation beds and the use of the special COVID-19 ICU (beds) it shows that the outbreak situation in Jakarta is in an emergency situation. The President two days ago stated firmly to all of us not to restart the economy until the health situation is under control.

“He clearly puts health as the top priority. So looking at this emergency, there are not many options for Jakarta other than to pull the emergency brake as soon as possible," Mr Baswedan said in the streamed address.

Jakarta will return to a partial lockdown, said Mr Baswedan, which requires that residents work, study and conduct activities of worship from home.

Non-essential businesses will have to operate from home starting Monday (Sep 14). Only selected essential services may continue to operate on-site. More details will be revealed soon, said Mr Baswedan. 

Entertainment venues and parks will also be closed but restaurants and cafes can continue to operate provided they only serve takeaways.

"Nevertheless, I urge (everyone) to conduct everything from home," the governor stated.

“It is now an emergency, more urgent than at the early stages of the pandemic."

He reiterated that Jakartans should not leave the capital if it is not necessary.

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Jakarta announced its first COVID-19 cases in early March and began implementing a partial lockdown on Apr 10. In June, the city entered a phase observing large-scale social restrictions and only reopened businesses slowly after COVID-19 cases started to drop. 

But in the last few days, the Indonesian capital has observed more than 1,000 new infections daily and as of Wednesday has recorded a total of 49,397 COVID-19 cases, making it the epicentre of the pandemic in the archipelago.

Indonesia currently has a total of 203,342 COVID-19 cases and 8,336 related deaths.

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Source: CNA/zl(hs)

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