JAKARTA - Police, soldiers and public order officers took the streets of Jakarta on Friday (April 10) to enforce the city’s tough social distancing measures as the capital, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia, grappled with surging infections and deaths from Covid-19.
Those breaching the rules - which includes a ban on gatherings of more than five people, a reduction of the number of passengers in a private car by half of its full capacity and no-dine in restaurants - face a fine of up to 100 million rupiah (S$9,000) and up to one year in prison.
Motorbike taxis can still operate to deliver food and goods, but passenger rides are prohibited. While residents are required to stay home, anyone venturing out for essential purposes must wear a mask.
The police have set up 33 checkpoints on the city’s borders with its satellites, such as Bekasi in West Java, toll gates, terminals, and train stations, and were closely scrutinising the movement of people and vehicles on Friday (April 10).
Footage posted by Jakarta police’s traffic management centre on Twitter showed officers stopping motorcycles with pillion riders and warning them about the ban.
Other footage showed police officers stopping a bus carrying “too many passengers”, most of whom were not wearing masks, at the Tanjung Priok toll gate in North Jakarta. The driver was then told to return to the nearby departure terminal.
Despite some non-compliance cases, Jakarta’s main streets were quiet and public transportation, such as the MRT and Transjakarta buses which operate only from 6am and 6pm, saw fewer passengers on board on the day, local media reported.
As the social distancing measures kicked in, ride hailing apps Go-Jek and Grab deactivated their motorbike taxi order features.
Indonesia reported 219 new infections on Friday, bringing the total number to 3,512, Mr Achmad Yurianto, government spokesman on Covid-19 management, said at a daily presser.
The world’s fourth-most populous country of nearly 270 million also registered another 26 deaths within the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 306 - the highest across South-east Asia. So far 282 patients have recovered.
Jakarta accounts for around half the national totals with 154 dead and 1,753 infected. On Friday, the city of around 10 million recorded 12 more deaths and 47 new cases.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Thursday evening that staying home for the next two weeks would be key “to cut the chain of Covid-19 transmission” in the city, and that the city government would provide aid weekly to 1.5 million poor and vulnerable families.
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has proposed to Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto that West Java cities and regencies neighbouring the capital - Bekasi, Bogor, and Depok – be included in Jakarta’s tougher measures as 70 per cent of community transmission was taking place in Greater Jakarta, which also comprises Tangerang in Banten province.