A nearly deserted sidewalk on Jalan Sudirman in Jakarta's central business district on Tuesday. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Jakarta Bans Gathering of More Than Five People Starting Friday

BY :LAURENS DAMI, VENTO SAUDALE, YUSTINUS PAAT, ANSELMUS BATA

APRIL 08, 2020

Jakarta. Jakarta will start imposing tighter rules for a large-scale social restriction, known by its acronym PSBB, on Friday. New restrictions will include a ban on gatherings of more than five people, limitations on public transportation and closure of schools, offices, places of worship and other public places.  

The capital, however, decided against a plan to limit the number of private vehicles on the road and would still allow online ride-hailing services to operate albeit with a number of limitations. 

The Health Ministry on Monday granted the city's request to impose the large-scale restriction following a week of administrative and political wrangles.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the capital city in principle has been implementing the PSBB in the past three weeks, albeit on shaky legal ground. 

Many Jakartans have been working and studying from home, places of worship and entertainment spots have been closed and there have been restrictions on public services and transportation.

"What we will start doing on April 10 is mainly the enforcement. A binding regulation will be drawn up soon for residents to follow," Anies said.

"There are no restrictions on private vehicles and there is no prohibition on going in and out of Jakarta. But [people need to] pay attention to physical distancing," he said.

Anies said Jakartans should avoid gathering in a large crowd. "If there are more than five people in a gathering, they will be prosecuted," he said.

Operating times for public transportation will also be limited from 6 a.m to 6 p.m.

Online car-hailing services can keep operating with limitations on the number of passengers they can carry, Anies said.

Motorcycle ride-hailing services would not be able to carry passengers. "But, goods or food delivery is allowed," he said. 

Insp. Gen. Istiono, the head of the National Traffic Police, also appealed to motorcyclists not to ride together during PSBB in Jakarta to stop the spread of Covid-19

All office and business activities will stop except for eight sectors: healthcare, food and beverages, utilities, communication services and media, bank and financial services – including the capital market, logistics and distribution of goods, groceries and food stalls and essential industries.

The provincial government, with help from the Indonesian Military and the National Police, would distribute basic needs to people in densely populated areas and communities in need, Anies said. 

"We will distribute food and other basic needs to the poor and vulnerable in Jakarta starting Thursday, God willing," Anies said.

Byzantine Procedures 

Anies initially wanted to impose a regional quarantine, the legal term for total lockdown, following the 2018 Law on Health Quarantine and urged the central government to issue a government regulation and ministerial regulation for the lockdown as dictated by the law.  

But President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has resolutely refused to impose a total lockdown, fearing chaos not unlike what happened in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a similar measure.

Jokowi said he was also concerned about the impact of a lockdown on small businesses, which make up more than half of the country's economy. 

The central government instead issued a government regulation on PSBB last week, followed by Health Minister Agus Terawan Putranto issuing a letter on Monday which allows Jakarta to impose its own large-scale restriction.

Satellite Cities to Follow

Banten Governor Wahidin Halim said the provincial government would impose the same restriction as Jakarta in Greater Tangerang – Tangerang City, South Tangerang and the Tangerang district – which shares borders with the capital. 

"The PSBB in Jakarta should be conducted in unison with similar measures in Greater Tangerang, since it's part of the Greater Jakarta area," Wahidin said. 

"This is important because we know Jakarta and Greater Tangerang are the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in this country," Wahidin said. 

Bogor's deputy mayor, Dedie Rachim, said the city would soon submit a request to the Health Ministry to be allowed to implement the same large-scale restriction. 

"It would be more effective to conduct a large-scale restriction with Jakarta. It's better for us to do it together, otherwise it would just be a partial quarantine," Dedie said.

Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris said the city, just south of Jakarta, is still considering its options.

 

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