An officer of Bekasi's transportation department stops a motorcycle rider and his passengers at a West Java-Jakarta border in Bekasi, West Java, on Friday. (Antara Photo/Fakhri Hermansyah)

'Large-Scale' Social Restrictions Expanded to Jakarta's Satellite Cities


APRIL 12, 2020

Jakarta. Health Minister Agus Terwan Putranto has approved the request from five districts and cities in West Java to implement the so-called large-scale social restrictions to contain the novel coronavirus epidemic in Greater Jakarta, where around 70 percent of confirmed cases were found. 

Bekasi District, Bekasi City, Bogor District, Bogor City and Depok City would soon follow Jakarta that has implemented the restrictions, also known as PSBB, since Friday. The restrictions apply to certain businesses, religious activities, private vehicles and public transportation, as well as gatherings in public places, with fines or jail time for people not heeding the rules. 

"[The requests] have been approved,"  Achmad Yurianto, the director-general of infectious disease prevention and control at the ministry, told on Saturday. Achmad, also the spokesman of the government's Covid-19 Task Force, did not provide a timeline for the satellite cities to implement the measures.

Previously, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil submitted a PSBB request for the five districts and cities in Jakarta’s eastern and southern borders, citing the need for prevention policies that must be in tune with those of Jakarta.

West Java is the second most severely hit by the Covid-19 disease, with 421 total confirmed cases and 40 fatalities as of Saturday, according to the health ministry data. The majority of the province's cases are in the five districts and municipalities, due to their proximity to Jakarta, the country's capital and the epicenter of the epidemic. 

Nationally, around 70 percent of positive cases are Greater Jakarta area, Ridwan said. 

"This indicates that we must have the same policy as Jakarta," Ridwan said. 

Dedie A. Rachim, Bogor's deputy mayor, said the city was coordinating with other four regions to implement the restriction simultaneously. 

"The restrictions may apply on Wednesday or Thursday," Dedie said in a statement on Saturday. 

"We have to prepare several things, one of them is the regional level regulation, such as the regulation of the mayor or district head regulation," Dedie said.

Also, the regions need to coordinate the deployment of aids package with other ministries and institutions, Dedie said. 

"We need to make several adjustments for the aids packages which later would be allocated for communities affected [by the restrictions]," he said.

Medical personnel controls the rapid test and inspection circulation outside a Pajajaran Stadium in Bogor, West Java on Tuesday (07/04). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro).
A medical worker awaits people to have Covid-19 rapid test on a street near the Padjadjaran Stadium in Bogor, West Java on April 7. 

Bogor has intensified measures to combat the highly infectious illness after Mayor Bima Arya tested positive for the coronavirus and spent three weeks in hospital isolation. The mayor was discharged from the hospital on Saturday but he must spend at least another week in self-imposed isolation.

It was not immediately known if three other commuter cities -- South Tangerang, Tangerang City and Tangerang District -- in the southern and western borders of Jakarta will follow suit. The three belong to Banten province. which ranked third in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced on Thursday that the central government would provide a stipend of Rp 600,000 ($38) each month for the next three months for around 1.6 million people in Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi. That was on top of an expanded conditional cash transfer and food aids for the poor.