Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Pekanbaru city has pledged to provide cash assistance and relief to around 40 thousand poor families during the enforcement of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in the city from April 17 to April 30, 2020.

The aid will be provided by the city government under the social safety net program.

"The neighborhood authorities across Pekanbaru city have been registering eligible poor families. May the registration process be finished soon," Pekanbaru Mayor Firdaus MT told journalists here on Friday.

The city administration plans to hand over the aid before the fasting month of Ramadhan begins next week, Firdaus said adding, there are two groups of poor families that are eligible for the social safety net program.

The first group comprises 15,037 families whose data was recorded under the Family Hope Program (Program Keluarga Harapan) prior to the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Mayor informed.

The second group consists of about 25 thousand families that would potentially be left impoverished by the imposition of large-scale social restrictions. Each of the families would receive Rp300 thousand for three months, he continued.

The Pekanbaru city administration would share the burden with the provincial government to handle the 25 thousand vulnerable families. "We are still calculating the number of families that will be handled by the city and provincial governments," the Mayor stated.

Each of the 15,037 families whose data was recorded in the Family Hope Program would receive Rp200 thousand and rice, he added.

Pekanbaru is among the Indonesian cities which has been battling COVID-19 ever since the first two COVID-19 cases were officially announced by the central government on March 2, 2020.

To break the chain of COVID-19 transmissions, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto has approved the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Pekanbaru.

On the basis of a study which revealed a considerable spike in COVID-19 cases in Pekanbaru, the Health Ministry concluded the city should impose PSBB to expedite efforts against the current health crisis.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had on April 13 declared the coronavirus outbreak a national disaster in view of the infections spreading to all 34 provinces of Indonesia. The novel coronavirus disease first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Several other cities in Indonesia have also enforced large-scale social restrictions and distancing measures. They include Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Bekasi (West Java), and Makassar (South Sulawesi). (INE)

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Translator: Vera L, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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