Asia

Stricter restrictions on public dining for Jakarta's satellite towns as coronavirus infections surge

JAKARTA – Stricter restrictions on public dining are being imposed on the satellite towns around Jakarta as Covid-19 infections rise in the areas close to the capital which remains the epicentre of the pandemic in Indonesia.

Restaurants in the towns will have to stop serving dine-in customers at 6pm for a week starting on Friday (Oct 2), and may be required to serve only takeaways for the following two weeks if the spread of the virus is not curbed in the surrounding regions. Seating capacity will be capped at 50 per cent.

The decision was made during a video conference on Wednesday between Mr Luhut Pandjaitan, a close aide of President Joko Widodo, Jakarta governor Mr Anies Baswedan and the mayor of Bogor, Bekasi, Tangerang and others which are grouped into the so-called Jabodetabek region, or Greater Jakarta.

Mr Luhut, who in mid-September was appointed by Mr Joko to lead a coordination effort to curb the spread of the virus in Indonesia, noted during Wednesday’s video conference that the number of active cases in the capital had started to trend downwards but all the satellite towns had yet to match Jakarta’s improving trend.

Jakarta has imposed tougher restrictions than all the other towns.

The occupancy rate for intensive care unit beds in Jakarta is currently at 71.8 per cent, while latest data shows that for the surrounding regions – Depok, Bekasi, Tangerang and Tangerang Selatan the rate has been at or above 80 per cent.

“I want all local police chiefs, military territorial chiefs to help make sure what we decided today is implemented on the ground,” Mr Luhut, who is also the coordinating maritime affairs and investment minister, said in the video conference which included local police and military top brass.

“We will evaluate and make a decision again on Oct 7. If the number of cases continues to rise, we will require restaurants to stop serving dine-ins,” Mr Luhut added.

Meanwhile Indonesia’s state drug maker Bio Farma has said it plans to start producing a vaccine in January, if its safety and efficacy was confirmed in the ongoing phase three clinical trial being jointly conducted with its partner, the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech.

Bio Farma recently boosted production capacity to 250 million doses.

“While waiting for the completion of the clinical trial, the preparation for production will be carried out from November to December,” said Bio Farma president director Honesti Basyir.

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