Coronavirus: Jakarta imposes social restrictions again, measures are less strict than the first round

Jakarta kicked off the second partial lockdown that will last for two weeks to curb the rapidly surging coronavirus cases. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - The Indonesian capital on Monday (Sept 14) kicked off the second partial lockdown that will last for two weeks, in its last-ditch attempt to curb the rapidly surging coronavirus cases.

The large-scale social restrictions, however, are less strict compared to the first lockdown in April.

Companies in non-essential sectors can continue to operate if they meet the condition that only 25 per cent of their employees work in offices and the rest work from home.

This is unlike the first lockdown when only companies in 11 essential sectors, including food, health, energy and finance, were allowed to operate.

Places of worship located in low-risk neighbourhoods can stay open at 50 per cent of its capacity, while malls and markets can continue to operate by adhering to health protocols. Ride hailing drivers are also allowed to take passengers.

Dining in is still prohibited in restaurants and all entertainment venues are closed.

The imposition of a partial lockdown that is less strict came after Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan faced opposition from Indonesia's senior government officials and the business community who said that the return to stringent measures will hurt the economy and livelihood of many people.

Dr Anies said in a press conference on Sunday that the Jakarta administration saw the urgency to re-impose the social restrictions to reduce the number of cases and deaths that had picked up quickly in September.

From Sept 1 to 11, there were 3,864 fresh cases, accounting for 25 per cent of total confirmed cases in the city in the past six months. The death tally in the same 11-day period made up 14 per cent of the overall fatalities in Jakarta so far.

People wearing face masks walk past a mural showing the burial of a coronavirus victim in Jakarta on Sept 11, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

"This is why we need to take extra measures to handle the Covid-19 cases in Jakarta," he said. "Since June 4, we have entered the transition phase where activities prohibited earlier were allowed and social, economic and cultural activities resumed. But after witnessing (more infections) ... we feel the need to apply restrictions to control the surge of cases in Jakarta."

As of Monday (Sept 14) the city of 10 million reported 55,099 cases and 1,418 deaths, while the country as a whole recorded 221,523 and infections and 8,841 fatalities.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan pointed out earlier that the problem was the lack of public discipline in adhering to health protocols, such as wearing masks and keeping safe distance.

He said that the government would take drastic steps, including detaining those who fail to wear masks or observe other health protocols. It will deploy police and soldiers to ensure that the pandemic measures are observed.

Dr Anies said that the Jakarta administration would now strongly mete out penalties to those who flout the rules. People who do not wear masks will face a 250,000 rupiah (S$23) fine and will have to pay double for repeated violations.

Companies flouting the rules will be shut down for three days upon first violation, and will be charged 50 million rupiah for the second violation and double the amount the next time.

Construction workers rest on a sidewalk in Jakarta on Sept 11, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The governor pointed out that the re-imposition of the restrictions was to reduce the number of cases emerging from offices.

"This is why our focus on the restrictions starting from Sept 14 is offices," he said, adding that the whole office buildings will be shut for three days when one confirmed case is found.

Under the current partial lockdown, the Jakarta administration will also quarantine people who test positive for Covid-19, instead of self-isolation.

Dos and don'ts in Jakarta's second partial lockdown:

*Workplaces in 11 essential sectors, such as food, health, energy, logistics and finance, may operate at 50 per cent capacity.

*Companies in non-essential sectors may operate but only with 25 per cent of employees working in offices.

*Schools to remain close, with students learning online.

*Only places of worship in low-risk neighbourhoods can hold activities at 50 per cent capacity.

*Public transportation like MRT, commuter rail and buses must operate at 50 per cent capacity.

*Marriage solemnisation is allowed, but not mass celebrations.

* Takeaway and delivery services are allowed in restaurants and cafes, but not dine-in services.

*All entertainment venues, parks and sports facilities are shut.

*Residents who test positive for Covid-19 must be quarantined in designated facilities; and self-isolation is no longer allowed

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