Covid-19 curbs eased in Jakarta, 3 other cities in Java in Indonesia

About 42 per cent of Jakartans have been fully vaccinated. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesia will ease Covid-19 curbs in Jakarta and three other major cities on the most populous island of Java from Tuesday ( Aug 10), allowing shopping malls to reopen with limited capacity, as the numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions continue to fall.

Those who have been vaccinated can go to shopping malls in the capital city, Bandung, Semarang and Surabaya, but only 25 per cent capacity is allowed, senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan announced on Monday night.

Mr Luhut also said Indonesia is extending level four containment measures for a week until next Monday in some parts of Java and Bali, and for two weeks until Aug 23 for regions beyond these two islands.

The measures, which are the strictest in the country, were imposed on July 3 to fight the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Mr Luhut, tasked by President Joko Widodo to coordinate efforts to curb the spread of the virus in Java and Bali, where 60 per cent of the total population live, also said that 26 cities and regencies in Java will have their containment measures lowered to level three.

However, he did not name the cities or regencies.

Easing of restrictions to level three means that 25 per cent of non-essential workers can return to work in the office and malls can open, among other things.

Under level four measures, malls and restaurants have to be shut, with only takeaways allowed, while non-essential workers have to work from home.

"Visitors to the shopping malls must have the Peduli Lindungi tracing app and those under age 12 and above age 70 are not allowed in temporarily," Mr Luhut said, referring to the Indonesian equivalent of Singapore's TraceTogether app.

"Going forward, a lot of things will be digitalised. We will rely a lot on vaccination cards to do our activities," Mr Luhut added.

Government sources had told The Straits Times that improving indicators and ramped-up vaccinations had put Jakarta in a much better position than other regions in the country.

"Jakarta's indicators are improving. Active cases, positivity rate, bed occupancy ratio are all on the downtrend," a government official told ST.

As at Sunday, the occupancy rate of Covid-19 isolation wards in Jakarta's hospitals had fallen to 39 per cent, while the occupancy rate for intensive care units had dropped to 65 per cent. Occupancy levels reached above 90 per cent last month, at the peak of the capital's fight against the Delta variant.

The city's positivity rate, which measures the percentage of people who test positive for Covid-19, was recorded at 10.2 per cent last Saturday.

The government had said a positivity rate of 10 per cent or lower was one of the conditions for curbs to be eased to level three.

About 42 per cent of Jakarta residents have been fully vaccinated and above 90 per cent have received their first vaccine shots.

Indonesia has so far reported about 3.7 million cases and over 108,000 deaths. On Monday, it recorded 20,709 new cases, while another 1,475 people died.

The seven-day average of daily new cases came down to 31,992 on Monday from the peak of 49,158 on July 19.

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