A worker at Indonesia's General Election Commission head office in Jakarta measures a visitor's body temperature last Friday. (SP Photo/Ruht Semiono)

Covid-19 Cases at Jakarta Offices Jump Ten Times After Reopening

BY :YUSTINUS PAAT

JULY 28, 2020

[Updated at 11:23 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, 2020, to add a clarification from Aneka Tambang in the fourth and fifth paragraphs]

Jakarta. The Jakarta city administration has urged private and public offices in the capital to conduct coronavirus tests on their employees after the number of Covid-19 cases among office workers exploded one month since the city allowed them to return to work. 

Jakarta recorded 440 cases from 68 office clusters across Jakarta on Monday, up from just 43 cases on June 4, when the capital still imposed the so-called large scale social restriction (PSBB). Starting June 5, the city administration allowed the companies to reopen their offices at 50 percent of capacity. 

Among the offices with the highest number of cases are the Finance Ministry office in Central Jakarta with 25 cases and the Education Ministry office in South Jakarta, according to Jakarta's Covid-19 task force data. A state-controlled pharmaceutical company also reported 20 cases.

The data also showed Covid-19 cases at the head office of Aneka Tambang (Antam), but the company refuted the report. "We can confirm that [the report] was not true and was not in line with Antam's data," Kunto Hendrapawoko, Antam's corporate secretary, said in a written statement to the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.

"As of July 26, there was not any confirmed case among our employees or outsourcing workers at Antam headquarter," Kunto said. He said the company had involved in pandemic mitigation efforts by providing portable handwashes, personal protective equipment, and its hospital in Jakarta for Covid-19 patients. The company also supplied polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits and reagents to Bogor district in West Java and Raja Ampat district in West Papua. 

Andri Yansyah, the head of Jakarta's manpower, transmigration, and energy department, urged the offices to step up their game in preventing and controlling the spread of Covid-19.

The department, he said, had issued a decree requiring offices to establish a task force responsible for the screening, testing, and controlling the virus spread in their respective workplace. 

"The Covid-19 prevention protocol in companies or offices should not be a burden. Don't cover it up, after all, what we do is for the good of the company itself, including its employees," Andri said.

Andri also appealed to offices or companies not to be afraid to conduct Covid-19 testing in the office. 

"Don't be afraid because this virus doesn't care about social status. If companies come out to report a case, that is part of the good faith of the company to protect their employees, their communities, and their families," he said.

Andri said if there was an employee with Covid-19, the office must close for three days to be sterilized and sprayed with disinfectants. During those three days, the company must conduct rapid tests on all its employees, he said. 

"The worker who is infected must take leave for 14 days [for self-isolation] or admit to the hospital appointed by the company. Their colleagues who interact with the infected employee must, too, undergo self insulation for 14 days," he said. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that there were 68 Covid-19 confirmed cases at Antam headquarter. The company later clarified that there was none. The Jakarta Globe regrets the error. 

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