Jakarta Enters New Lockdown After Coronavirus Cases Surge

Indonesia is the Southeast Asian country with the higest number of COVID-19 cases.
Thursday 17 September 2020
Restrictions in Jakarta began on 14 September, and as a result, congested main roads are nearly empty. Photo: AFP

Jakarta is in a partial coronavirus lockdown this week due to an increase in infections in the capital. Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan said the city would resume large-scale social restrictions for two weeks starting 14 September, calling it a necessary measure to prevent the health system from collapsing.

Non-essential businesses are only allowed to operate at 25% capacity, restaurants can only serve takeaways, and school, parks and tourist spots have been ordered to shut. Anyone testing positive for Covid-19, including asymptomatic patients, will have to undergo mandatory quarantine in government facilities, he said.

“If a person who was tested positive refused to be isolated in the designated facility, health workers and law enforcers will pick them up,” said Baswedan during a news conference.

 

Health workers take samples from patients in Surabaya, Indonesia. Photo:: AFP

 

Jakarta first introduced coronavirus restrictions in early April, but began relaxing them in June. Weeks later, however, the capital has seen a sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases.

To enforce restrictions that have often been flouted, thousands of soldiers and police are being deployed. Despite this, it looks like it will be difficult to enforce a lockdown. Grocery store worker Taufik said, “I will continue working despite the large-scale restrictions. It’s a good policy, but I need to keep working daily because it is where I earn my income.”

Indonesia is the country that has been the hardest-hit by the coronavirus in Southeast Asia with 221,523 infections and 8,841 deaths. Jakarta reported more than 55,000 cases with nearly 1,500 deaths on 14 September.

 

The quarantine facility in Bekasi for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. Photo: AFP

 

National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo said 20 out of 67 COVID-19 referral hospitals in Jakarta had reported occupancy rates in their intensive care units at over 60%. Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has announced that 15 hotels will be used to quarantine COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms. Jakarta administrators have also converted part of an athletes’ village built for international sporting events for asymptomatic patients who need to be quarantined.

“The point is to provide more places for self-isolation so people won’t have to quarantine at home with inadequate health standards,” said Monardo. In neighbouring Bekasi, the local government has also converted a sports stadium into a quarantine facility for asymptomatic patients.

 

Source: AFP Relax News