Indonesia tightens restrictions on millions as coronavirus infections spike

Indonesian government workers wearing protective gear disinfectant a street in Banda Aceh on April 18, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Indonesia has extended stricter social-distancing rules to millions of people living on the main island of Java, and in West Sumatra, as the world's fourth-most populous nation strives to stem a spike in coronavirus cases.

Large-scale social restrictions will be put in place across five regions in West Java that collectively house almost nine million people, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said in a statement issued by the Indonesian Cabinet secretariat.

A similar order has been given for Tegal, a city in Central Java, and for the province of West Sumatra. Mr Putranto noted a significant increase in the spread of Covid-19 cases in these areas.

There were 407 new infections in Indonesia on Friday (April 17), the biggest daily increase since the south-east Asian country reported its first case, taking total confirmed cases close to 6,000. The government has continuously expanded a partial lockdown to more cities outside the capital Jakarta, the epicentre of the outbreak. The virus is expected to infect 95,000 people in May and to rise to 106,000 in July, according to government estimates.

The five regions in West Java include Cimahi City, Bandung Regency, West Bandung Regency, Sumedang Regency and Bandung City - the nation's fourth-most populous city.

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