Residents in a West Jakarta neighborhood puts a banner that reads "No Entry". (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Indonesia Extends Covid Lockdown amid Death Toll Concerns

BY :HERU ANDRIYANTO

AUGUST 09, 2021

Jakarta. The Indonesian government announced on Monday that social restrictions across Java and Bali are extended by another week despite a steady decline in newly Covid-19 cases, citing the persistently high daily death toll.

For certain districts and cities on other islands, the extended lockdown will last two weeks due to an uptick in new cases.

“The challenges we are facing outside Java and Bali are much bigger, for example the health infrastructural support,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Panjaitan said in a video conference.

Luhut, who is tasked of leading Covid-19 response in Java and Bali, claimed there has been a significant decline in newly cases since the partial lockdown was imposed on July 3.

“According to data, there is a 59.6 percent decline in the number of newly cases compared to July 15, 2021,” Luhut said, referring to the date when the country saw a record 56,757 cases in a single day.

President Joko Widodo has decided to extend restrictions until August 16 to “maintain the momentum” and reduce fatality rate, Luhut said.

“We have created a special team tasked with handling areas where the death toll is surging significantly,” he added.

The daily death toll has been within the four-digit territory since July 16, including a further 1,475 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The virus has killed 108,571 people in Indonesia to date.

Throughout this week, the government will allow “gradual reopening” of malls and trade centers in Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Semarang with 25 percent capacity limit, he said.

Only vaccinated people are allowed to visit malls, while those under 12 and above 70 are temporarily banned from malls and trade centers, Luhut said.

Starting next week, export-oriented businesses can operate at 100 percent capacity as long as workers are separated in at least two shifts.

Religious congregation at worship places is limited to 25 percent of capacity.

Restrictions will continue for another fortnight in 45 districts and cities beyond Java and Bali, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto said in the same conference.

While Java’s six provinces and Bali are home to a vast majority of the national population, 46.5 percent of the current active Covid-19 cases occur in other provinces, according to government data.

The total number of active cases in Java and Bali has dropped by 27 percent to 240,171 from 329,347 month to date, but beyond those areas the figures have climbed by 1.23 percent to 208,337 active cases despite restrictions for more than a month.

Central Sulawesi has recorded a 37 percent rise in the number of active cases during the first nine days of the month, while Gorontalo in northern Sulawesi reported a 31 percent increase.

Bangka Belitung Islands, North Sumatra, East Nusa Tenggara and South Kalimantan also saw the number of active cases surge by more than 15 percent.

The central government will deploy ferries to be used as floating isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients in stricken cities such as Medan in North Sumatra, Bitung in North Sulawesi, Sorong in Papua and Bandar Lampung in Lampung, Airlangga said.

More makeshift isolation centers will be established at public buildings in worst-affected provinces, he added.


 

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