Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

Jakarta goes into less restrictive Covid-19 lockdown

A two-week, less restrictive lockdown was imposed on the Indonesian capital yesterday, in a last-ditch attempt by the country to curb the rapidly surging number of coronavirus cases.

The new move is unlike the large-scale lockdown in April, when only companies in 11 essential sectors – including food, health, energy and finance – were allowed to operate.

Now, companies in non-essential sectors can continue to operate on condition that only 25 per cent of their employees work in offices.

The rest have to work from home.

Places of worship located in low-risk neighbourhoods will also be allowed to stay open, but at 50 per cent of capacity, while malls and markets can continue to operate by adhering to health protocols.

Dining-in is still prohibited in restaurants, and all entertainment venues are closed.

Dr Anies Baswedan, Jakarta’s Governor, decided on the partial lockdown although Indonesia’s senior government officials and the business community opposed the restrictive measures, saying it will hurt the economy and livelihood of many people.

But Dr Anies said on Sunday that the Jakarta administration saw the urgency in re-imposing the social restrictions to reduce the number of cases and deaths, which has soared this month.

From Sept 1 to 11, there were 3,864 fresh cases, accounting for 25 per cent of total confirmed cases in the city in the past six months.

The death tally in the same period made up 14 per cent of the overall fatalities in Jakarta so far.

The situation has put mounting pressure on Jakarta’s Covid-19 referral hospitals to focus on managing patients in need of isolation and intensive care facilities.

Dos and don’ts in Jakarta’s second partial lockdown

•Workplaces in 11 essential sectors, such as food, health, energy, logistics and finance, may operate at 50 per cent capacity.

•Companies in non-essential sectors may operate but only with 25 per cent of employees working in offices.

•Schools to remain closed, with students learning online.

•Only places of worship in low-risk neighbourhoods can hold activities, but at 50 per cent capacity.

•Public transport like the MRT, commuter rail and buses must operate at 50 per cent capacity.

•Marriage solemnisation is allowed, but not mass celebrations.

•Takeaway and delivery services are allowed at restaurants and cafes, but not dine-in services.

•All entertainment venues, parks and sports facilities are shut.

•Residents who test positive for Covid-19 must be quarantined at designated places; and self-isolation is no longer allowed.

Dr Anies also noted a large number of infections emerging from offices. “This is why our focus on the restrictions starting from Sept 14 is offices,” he said, adding that an entire office building will be shut for three days should there be one confirmed case.

As of yesterday, the city of 10 million had reported 55,099 cases and 1,418 deaths, while the entire country recorded 221,523 cases and 8,841 fatalities.

Mr Sarman Simanjorang, the deputy chairman of the advisory council at the Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told The Straits Times that businesses are willing to comply with workplace rules, although the social restrictions that put a lid on economic activities will be hard on them.

“As the movement of people is curbed, economic transactions will certainly decline. It will impact us,” he added.

“Micro, small and medium enterprises, which were trying to recover after the first social restrictions were eased, will fall again.”

Mr Sarman said the impact of the second lockdown will be reflected in the city’s economic growth in the third quarter of this year.

Jakarta’s economy contracted by 8.22 per cent in the April-June period compared with the same quarter a year ago. It had grown by 5.06 per cent in the first quarter of this year, official figures show.

Overall, the country’s economy shrank by 5.32 per cent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year. It is the first quarterly contraction since 1999.

Stiffer penalties have been introduced this time round.

People who do not mask up will be fined 250,000 rupiah (S$23), and double that for subsequent violations. Companies will be shut down for three days on their first violation, fined 50 million rupiah the second time and double the amount after that.

“We hope the (city) government will enforce the social restrictions strictly and really impose penalties,” said Mr Sarman.

Yesterday, the Jakarta administration activated eight points across the Indonesian capital where officials will monitor the implementation of the restrictions.

Source: Read Full Article

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