Coronavirus: Indonesia orders Jakarta firms to implement new working hours

The staggered working hours are aimed at preventing a second wave of infections. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Companies in Indonesia's capital Jakarta were told to implement new working hours to prevent overcrowding on public transportation during peak hours.

From Monday (June 15), employees at government ministries, state firms and private companies will start work either between 7am and 7.30am, or between 10am and 10.30am, according to a circular by the nation's Covid-19 task force. They will finish work about eight hours later.

"Our assessment shows that more than 75 per cent of the commuter rail passengers are workers and nearly 45 per cent of them leave for work at the same time, at between 5.30am and 6.30am," task force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said in a televised briefing on Sunday.

"It will be difficult to maintain physical distancing because transportation modes are already at their highest capacity."

Indonesia reported 857 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 38,277, the second-highest in Southeast Asia. Jakarta has the largest number of people infected.

As many as 2,134 people have succumbed to the disease across the country since the government reported the first cases in early March.

The staggered working hours are aimed at preventing a second wave of infections as the country begins easing movement restrictions.

"We expect to see a balance between public transportation capacity and number of passengers and to ensure the implementation of physical distancing measures," Mr Yurianto said.

Despite the new working hours, companies should still ask their employees to work from home if they have pre-existing medical issues, he added.

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