Asia

Coronavirus: Jakarta to reimpose strict curbs as cases continue to surge

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan yesterday said that strict restrictive measures would be reimposed in the Indonesian capital as Covid-19 cases continue to surge.

At a press conference late in the day, he said large-scale social restrictions, which had gradually been eased since June 4, would be tightened again.

The easing of measures had led to, among other things, the reopening of businesses and workplaces, as well as parks and tourist destinations.

“We are now in an emergency situation, on a greater scale than we were in the earlier phase of the outbreak. Do not leave home if it’s not essential. Do not leave Jakarta if there is no urgent purpose,” Mr Anies said via a live-streaming video on Facebook.

“We are forced to reimpose the PSBB (semi-lockdowns) as we did at the onset of the pandemic.”

Mr Anies did not say when the restrictions would return, but announced that employees in non-essential sectors would have to go back to working from home from Monday.

“Businesses may continue to operate, but the activities in the offices must stop for now.”

Mr Anies added that all entertainment centres managed by the Jakarta city administration would be closed. Restaurants and cafes may remain open, but customers would not be allowed to dine in.

Travellers will be restricted from entering and leaving Greater Jakarta.

He said the government would provide assistance to those in need.

A city of 10 million, Jakarta has the dubious distinction of being the first epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

It reported 1,004 fresh cases yesterday, bringing the total number of cases in the city to 49,397. The capital also reported 17 new deaths, bringing total fatalities to 1,334.

77%

The occupancy rate of isolation rooms at Jakarta’s 67 Covid-19 referral hospitals.

The country as a whole reported 203,342 cases and 8,336 deaths as at yesterday.

The death toll in Indonesia is the highest in South-east Asia.

Mr Anies said that the healthcare sector was finding it difficult to cope even though the government had moved to increase the number of beds and intensive care units (ICUs) in hospitals.

The occupancy rate of isolation rooms at the city’s 67 Covid-19 referral hospitals has reached 77 per cent, and the rate for ICUs has hit 83 per cent, the city’s administration revealed earlier this week.

Reuters, quoting experts from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, reported that hospitals in Jakarta could reach full capacity this month if stricter measures are not imposed. They forecast that the death toll in Jakarta could reach 3,000 by next month.

Mr Anies said: “Faced with the emergency situation, Jakarta doesn’t have any choice other than pulling the emergency brake as soon as possible.”

He added: “Once again, this is to save Jakarta residents. If the situation is not controlled, hospitals will not be able to accommodate (patients) and this will lead to a higher number of deaths in Jakarta.”

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