Aceh Besar, Aceh (ANTARA) - The Aceh Regional Leadership Communication Forum (Forkopimda) has voiced its support for the imposition of a two-month curfew across Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

"The coronavirus curfew will be effective from March 29 to May 29," spokesperson for the Aceh Provincial Administration, Muhammad Iswanto, told journalists on Sunday evening, even as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed in Indonesia.

The decision was revealed in a Forkopimda petition dated March 29, 2020 and signed by the Aceh Wali Naggroe leader, Malik Mahmud Al Haytar; acting Aceh Governor Nova Iriansyah; and Speaker of the Aceh legislative body, Dahlan Jamaluddin.

Several other figures have also signed the petition — Aceh Police Chief Inspector General Wahyu Widada; Commander of the Iskandar Muda Regional Military Command, Major General Teguh Arief Indratmoko; and, head of the Aceh High Prosecutors' Office, Irdam.

The forum directed community members across Aceh Province to respect the curfew and not venture outdoors between 8.30 p.m. and 5.30 a.m. local time, said Iswanto.

Those operating businesses such as coffee shops and cafes, shopping malls, karaoke parlors, food stalls, fitness centers, and public transportation providers have also been asked to respect the curfew, he said.

Only public transportation providers supplying basic necessities to communities would be exempt from the curfew, and they would be required to submit legal documents, notifying their activities, he added.

City mayors and district heads across Aceh Province have been asked to supervise the implementation of the curfew in their administrative areas, he said, adding that the increase in the number of COVID-19 patients and those under surveillance has led to the implementation of the curfew.

As of 9.50 a.m. Western Indonesia Time (WIB) on March 30, the number of COVID-19 patients worldwide stood at 721,817, while the number of deaths were registered at 33,968, according to the Johns Hopkins University's Corona Resource Center.

The United States has recorded the highest number of infections at 142,326, while Italy has witnessed the most deaths (10,779) in the world.

So far,1,285 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in Indonesia, while 114 persons have died of the disease. Jakarta has continued to record the highest number of confirmed cases and fatalities.

COVID-19, which first struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December, 2019, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Indonesia currently needs 1,500 more doctors, including pulmonologists and anesthetists, and 2,500 nurses to assist health workers on the frontlines of efforts to combat the virus.

Coordinator of the Volunteer Task Force for Accelerating the Handling of COVID-19, Andre Rahadian, brought this critical requirement to light recently.

The task force has created a microsite on the official website of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) for volunteers keen on participating in the humanitarian mission against COVID-19, he stated during a recent press conference in Jakarta. (INE)

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Translator: M Ifdhal, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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