Coronavirus: Indonesia reports sixth consecutive day of over 3,000 new infections ahead of curbs in capital

Jakarta will reimpose stricter wide-scale restrictions starting on Sept 14, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia on Sunday (Sept 13) reported its sixth consecutive day of over 3,000 new cases of novel coronavirus infection, just as the capital city of South-east Asia's most populous country prepares to re-impose social distancing restrictions.

New infections on Sunday reached 3,636 with new deaths at 73, showed data from the health ministry's website. That brought the total number of infections to 218,382 and deaths to 8,723.

To try and stem the spread of the virus in Jakarta, employees of businesses considered non-essential will be required to work from home from Monday (Sept 14).

Certain government workers will be allowed to work from offices.

Markets and shopping centres will be permitted to stay open with admittance at half capacity, and restaurants within shopping centres will be allowed to operate for take-out only, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told a news briefing on Sunday.

"Our main focus is to set restrictions in office spaces," Baswedan said. "We hope this will put a stop to the rising number of cases in office clusters."

The curbs will be implemented for two weeks, but can be extended, he said.

Baswedan first announced the plan to re-impose restrictions late on Wednesday (Sept 9). Indonesia's main stock index tumbled 5 per cent the next day.

On Sunday, he reiterated the restrictions were necessary as the number of active cases in the capital increased significantly in the first 12 days of September, putting further stress on the capital's healthcare system.

As of Sunday, Jakarta had logged 54,220 cases of infection and 1,391 deaths.

Baswedan said the city government will also implement a mandatory isolation policy, where anyone confirmed infected will be isolated at designated locations, such as government facilities or hotels, starting Monday.

Currently, people diagnosed as infected but with light symptoms are allowed to self-isolate at home. "If the confirmed positive person refuses the isolation, they will be picked up by health and law enforcement officers," Baswedan said.

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