Visitors enjoy the fresh air at Utan Kemayoran public park in North Jakarta on June 10, 2021. (B1 Photo/Ruth Semiono)

Restaurants, Malls, Parks Must Close Early as Covid-19 Extreme Spike Looms

BY :LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN

JUNE 21, 2021

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has told the police and regional leaders to tighten public restrictions from June 22 to July 5, following an extreme spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the past week. 

Under the president's directive, micro-scale restrictions on community activities (PPKM Mikro) would include an early curfew and lower capacity restrictions for restaurants, food stalls, cafes, street vendors, wet markets, shopping centers, and malls.

"Activities in shopping centers, malls or markets and trade centers must cease by 08:00 p.m. They must also limit the number of visitors at 25 percent of their normal capacity," the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto said on Monday, after a limited cabinet meeting with the president. 

The government also requires offices in the red zones — a code for regions with rapid Covid-19 spread and overwhelming healthcare facilities —  to let 75 percent of their employees work from home. Offices in other regions can afford to have only 50 percent of their employees working from home, Airlangga said.

"No one travels or moves to other regions. This will be further regulated by ministries and local governments,” he said.

The Jakarta Police would erect roadblocks on ten locations around the city to restrict people's mobility, spokesman Chief. Comm. Yusri Yunus said on Monday.

Greater Bandung area in West Java had implemented similar measures since Sunday to discourage visitors from coming to the area. The new Covid-19 wave badly hit the popular weekend getaway destination that it virtually had no hospital beds left to treat the patients.

Airlangga said that red zone regions must strictly conduct online learning for students. Meanwhile, other zones should follow the existing guidelines from Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Ministry. 

Essential industries like the basic service industry, supermarkets and pharmacies, public utilities, national vital projects can operate 100 percent with limited operating hours and capacity.

Construction activities can continue to operate with the implementation of health protocols, Airlangga said. 

The government also suspended gatherings in places of worship in the red zones until the zone is declared safe. 

"Regarding  Idul Adha religious activities, a separate circular will be issued to regulate activities, including the slaughter of sacrificial animals and their distribution. The religion affairs Minister will issue a special circular for that," Airlangga said. 

Meanwhile, public areas of public facilities, public parks, tourist attractions, other public places, cultural arts, social activities, meeting activities, and seminar meetings in the red zone are temporarily closed until further notice, Airlangga said. 

Then in other zones, it is allowed to open at most 25 percent of capacity, and there are arrangements from the local government by implementing strict health protocols.

"Note for celebration activities or community activities, a maximum of 25 percent of the room capacity and no food on site. This means that food must be brought home," said Airlangga Hartarto.

For public transportation, Airlangga continued, local government regulations on capacity and operating hours were enforced with stricter health protocols.

Extreme Spike

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the latest Covid-19 spike in Indonesia has been extreme for the past few weeks. The government has been doing its best to cope with pandemic fallout that stresses the country's healthcare system. 

The most populous country in Southeast Asia reported more than 1450,700 active cases on Sunday, higher than the number of active cases when it started the vaccination program in January.

The country saw close to 78,600 new cases last week, rising 42 percent from 55,300 cases in the previous week. That was the fastest increase in weekly new cases since June last year, faster than December's climb when the country saw its first peak. 

"So far, there has been an extraordinary increase," Budi said on Monday.

"It is important to focus not only on the downstream, or hospital side, for treating the sick. More importantly, we need to focus on the upstream; how we prevent these healthy people from becoming sick," Budi said. 

Data from the Health Ministry showed that the bed occupancy rate (BOR) in hospitals for Covid-19 patients across the country had passed the 60-percent threshold, a level that the ministry considered concerning. 

The healthcare system in Jakarta, West Java, and Central Java was almost full, with the BORs in those three provinces were above 80 percent. 

Still, the minister remained confident that the country would be able to cope with the latest increase in the number of patients. "We have prepared more beds, necessary medicines, equipment such as [personal protective equipment] and masks, as well as the health workers," Budi said.

 

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