Jakarta intensifies restrictions amid drastic COVID-19 case surge

Jakarta intensifies restrictions amid drastic COVID-19 case surge

Several residents stood at a bus stop near Ragunan Zoo which was closed in indefinitely on Wednesday (June 23, 2021). due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the capital ANTARA FOTO/Muhammad Adimaja/foc.

 Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city, has witnessed records in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the last few weeks, compelling authorities to enforce stricter micro-scale public movement restrictions (PPKM) projected to stem transmission.

Jakarta recorded the addition of 5,014 new cases in a single day on June 21, 2021, thereby pushing the tally to 479,043 cases; 5,582 cases on June 20; and 4,895 cases on June 19, 2021, a drastic jump from 856 new cases on May 21, 2021.

Moreover, a total of 32,060 people were undergoing treatment or isolation on account of the COVID-19 infection, while 71 Jakartans had succumbed to the disease, thereby taking the death toll to 7,976 as of June 21, 2021. The COVID-19 recovery rate is still high, at 95.4 percent, while the mortality rate was recorded at 1.7 percent.

In fact, the COVID-19 spike not only occurred in Jakarta but also in several other provinces across Indonesia following the long holidays in May 2021 and the arrival of new COVID-19 variants, such as delta, from overseas.

"The top five highest increases in COVID-19 cases were found in the provinces of Jakarta, Central Java, West Java, Yogyakarta, and East Java," the country's COVID-19 handling task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito stated during an online press conference on June 15, 2021.

"Our focus is how to control the case surge in the hardest hit regions and to (ensure people) comply with health protocols and to impose mobility restrictions for domestic and overseas trips," Adisasmito, who later, on June 19, 2021, announced that he had contracted COVID-19 after visiting several of those affected regions.

Related news: Jakarta's recent COVID-19 case spike linked to Eid holidays: Governor

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has also attributed the ongoing spike in coronavirus infections in the capital city to the people's increased mobility during the Eid al-Fitr holidays and urged Jakartans to not undermine the COVID-19 case spike. He has urged Jakartans to remain indoors and to venture out only for urgent matters.

As most of the beds at hospitals are nearly full, the Jakarta provincial government has prepared 2,500 beds at the Nagrak low-cost apartments in the Cilincing neighborhood of North Jakarta for COVID-19 patients. At least five other buildings, including the Pasar Rumput flat in South Jakarta, the Pondok Gede Hajj Dormitory in East Jakarta, Graha Wisata hostel in TMII (Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park in East Jakarta, and Pasar Jumat flat in South Jakarta, have also been converted into isolation facilities for COVID-19 patients.

The East Jakarta Municipality is planning to build a COVID-19 hospital as daily cases in East Jakarta have jumped drastically, from 200 to reach one thousand, based on data on June 22, 2021.

Jakarta has extended COVID-19 restrictions with stricter measures during the period from June 21 to July 5, 2021, with the support of at least 1,500 police and military officers for legal enforcement concerning health protocol measures, such as wearing masks and preventing crowds.

Related news: Face-to-face classes not permitted in Jakarta's red zones: Governor

Baswedan, the former education minister, took the decision to not allow schools in red zones in the capital to hold face-to-face classes.

"Learning at schools and institutes of higher learning and academies must be conducted online," according to a copy of the appendix to the decision.

Learning at schools in orange and yellow zones is adjusted to the technical procedure issued by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology.

All public entertainment spots, offices, and others must be closed at 9 p.m. local time. Some 10 major roads, including famous touristic areas in Sabang, Central Jakarta, are also closed from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. during the June 21-July 5 period.

Offices are urged to apply the work-from-home (WFH) policy. However, offices are permitted to open with a maximum of 25 percent of their capacity.

Jakarta, however, has yet to pull an emergency brake policy to tackle the COVID-19 case surge since such a policy comes under the Central Government’s authority, according to Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria.

"In the past, the authority had laid with the regions, (so we could pull the emergency brake). Now, the authority lies in the hands of the central (government). That is the regulation," Patria noted at the Jakarta City Hall on June 22, 2021.

The central government's rule aims for improved coordination, synchronization, harmonization, and cooperation among regions to stem the transmission of COVID-19, the deputy governor remarked.

Jakarta will follow decisions of the central government via Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto pertaining to efforts to prevent and control the number of COVID-19 cases, he affirmed.

The Jakarta administration has accrued Rp6.9 billion in fines from firms, cafes, and restaurants that failed to comply with health protocols since the government announced for the first time the existence of COVID-19 cases in the capital city on March 2, 2020.

In accordance with Jakarta Governor’s Regulation No. 3 of 2021, any restaurant, food stall, or cafe found to have repeatedly violated health protocols are liable to a fine of up to Rp50 million and may have their permits revoked if they violate the regulation.

The sanctions have been imposed not only on restaurants, food stalls, and cafes but also on visitors not wearing masks. A visitor found not wearing a mask is fined up to Rp50 thousand.

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo recently summoned the Jakarta Regional Leadership Communication Forum (Forkopimda) members and issued directives on ways to deal with the COVID-19 case spike.

The forum comprises Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, chief of the Jakarta Provincial Legislative Assembly (DPRD), Prasetyo Edi Marsudi, Commander of the Jakarta Regional Military Command, Major General Mulyo Aji, chief of the Jakarta Metropolitan Police, Inspector General Fadil Imran, and mayors and resort police chiefs from across Jakarta.

The president called on the Jakarta administration to expedite COVID-19 vaccination. The Jakarta administration is aiming to vaccinate 8,815,157 people against the coronavirus by the end of this year. As of June 22, over 3.5 million COVID-19 shots were administered to local residents, including some 1.9 million of them that had received the second jabs.

As Jakarta celebrated its 494th anniversary on June 22, 2021, Baswedan pinned high hopes on Jakarta soon recovering from the pandemic, aligning with this year's theme for the commemoration.

Jakarta will continue to fight and adapt in order to achieve recovery wherein all elements of the public, including individuals, institutions, universities, and the government, should make their contributions, according to the governor.

Related news: Governor Baswedan urges public to care for those contracting COVID-19

Baswedan also made an earnest request to the people to care for those having contracted COVID-19, as it also concerns their families that harbor worries.

"Imagine a family that is worried and tensed. Imagine patients in need of intensive treatment owing to exposure to the virus," Baswedan noted.

The governor remarked that the current spike in COVID-19 cases in Jakarta must not be viewed as mere figures of death toll or confirmed case tally, as it concerns people exposed to the virus and their worried families.

"I need to underline it. When (we) mention the number of cases, do not ever treat the COVID-19 cases just as statistical figures - the number of cases up or down," he noted.

An increase of one COVID-19 case means one life is threatened owing to the infection. It means that when one person is infected, his or her family members -- mother, father, children, brothers, or sisters -- are worried, he remarked.

Hence, Baswedan has urged all to be heedful of their troubles and to care for those infected.

"These are our brothers and sisters. These are fellow citizens. Every time, one figure is mentioned, there is one life. He/she could be a child, mother, father, brother, or sister of us all," he stated.  

 

 

EDITED BY INE

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