Jakarta. The government is considering imposing more stringent Covid-19 rules outside Java and Bali islands as the country faces its worst coronavirus outbreak.
According to Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, the government is keeping the option open in case there is a Covid-19 spike that swamp health facilities in those regions.
"President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has instructed us that, if the supporting facilities in the region are declining, of course in accordance with the existing mechanism and criteria, we will upgrade [the status] from 'strict' to 'emergency'," Airlangga told a virtual conference on Wednesday.
Java and Bali are currently under stricter social restrictions as the pandemic wreaks havoc. The restriction is in effect until July 20 and includes temporary mall closures, as well as no dine-ins.
The government has also tightened the restriction in 43 districts/municipalities outside Java-Bali, including Banda Aceh in Aceh and Jayapura in Papua. The restriction in those regions will also last until July 20, but is less restrictive in comparison to the stricken Java and Bali. For instance, shopping centers can operate until 5 p.m. at a 25 percent capacity. Restaurants can also serve dine-ins up to 25 percent of the venue’s capacity until 5 p.m.
Airlangga said he had discussed with 10 regional leaders and would soon invite 17 others to ramp up the monitoring on Covid-19 cases. He also encouraged the positivity rate on the testing standards to be in accordance with the World Health Organization’s recommendation.
“So there will be no regions who lower their positivity rate by testing less [people]. The standard is locked because the positivity rate is crucial to monitor close contacts,” the minister said.
According to Covid-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee (KPCPEN) data, regions outside Java and Bali had 50,513 active cases as of June 27. The number then rose to 67,891 active cases as of July 5 and thus a 34.4 percent increase. Ten provinces are undergoing a 50 to 100 percent rise in active cases. Out of those ten provinces, four are seeing active cases up more than 100 percent.
As of Tuesday, Papua is the province outside Java and Bali with the most active cases of 9,316. Followed by East Kalimantan with 6,235 cases and Central Kalimantan with 5,640 cases. Riau Islands is home to 5,244 active cases and West Sumatera with 4,156 cases.
Airlangga’s remarks came on the same day when Indonesia hit another all-time high in their 24-hour increase. The country reported 34,379 cases on Wednesday, beating the previous day's record of 31,189 cases. The latest 24-hour update brings the total of Indonesia’s Covid-19 cases to 2,379,397 since the pandemic first hit the country.