Jakarta to isolate positive coronavirus cases in official facilities

Officers will be deployed to ensure people abide by the latest rules. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Residents of Indonesia's capital of Jakarta who tested positive for the coronavirus will be isolated in official facilities and can no longer be quarantined at home, the city's governor said ahead of tighter restrictions that take effect on Monday (Sept 14).

Isolation at home must be avoided to limit contagion, Mr Anies Baswedan said at a press conference on Sunday.

The city's police chief said officers will be deployed to ensure people abide by the latest rules. They include requiring companies in non-essential sectors to let employees work from home or have no more than a quarter of their workforce in offices.

The city, home to more than 10 million people, had repeatedly delayed a plan to further ease social distancing measures after gradually allowing shopping malls, then offices to reopen with some limits starting from June.

It remains the epicentre of infections in Indonesia, where the number of confirmed infections have exceeded 218,000 with more than 8,700 deaths.

From Sept 14, Jakarta is limiting the use of public transport, as well as shutting entertainment sites and places of worship. For external activities, there can't be more than five people per group, Mr Baswedan said on Sunday.

Last week, he said he was seeking to limit people's movement into and out of Jakarta by coordinating with mayors of surrounding cities.

The tighter measures in Jakarta will further hurt the Indonesian economy, which contracted in the second quarter for the first time since the Asian financial crisis. Jakarta contributes almost 20 per cent to Indonesia's gross domestic product.

The capital reported 54,220 cases as of Sunday, almost doubling in the past month. The surge in infections has placed a strain on medical infrastructure.

Indonesia's GDP shrank 5.32 per cent in April to June. The rupiah has fallen almost 7 per cent this year, making it the worst performer among Asia's most-active currencies.

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