Indonesia imposes stricter restrictions

Jakarta, Dec 20 : Indonesia has imposed stricter restrictions until January 8, 2021 to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases after the Christmas and year-end holiday seasons, officials said on Sunday.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the number of daily cases and deaths rose after long holidays at the end of October this year, especially in Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, South Sulawesi, North Sumatra, Bali and South Kalimantan, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Previously, the trend of the cases in these areas had decreased,” Pandjaitan, concurrently a deputy chairman of the National Committee for the Covid-19 Mitigation and Economic Recovery, told a meeting with ministers and regional heads.

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Every year in Indonesia, there is an exodus of people who work in major cities returning to their villages or towns of origin for family gatherings or just travelling during the Christmas and year-end holidays.

This time, to deal with the exodus during the pandemic, the government has banned celebrations and gatherings of more than five people in public areas, and limited hours of service activities.

Jakarta’s Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria also emphasized that there would be no year-end celebrations in the capital city this year.

The Jakarta administration has also limited operational hours for offices, malls, cafes, restaurants, places of interest and tourist attractions to 7 p.m. local time with a maximum capacity of 50 per cent each.

The central government also required people travelling to Jakarta and Yogyakarta province during that period to show negative antigen rapid test results.

National Cocid-19 Task Force’s spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said the rise in the COVID-19 cases did not only occur during the long weekend last October but also happened after the Eid al-Fitr holidays in May and the Independence Day vacation in August this year.

The spike in the cases could trigger next impacts such as fully occupied hospitals and increases in medical workers’ burdens, Adisasmito said.

Meanwhile, the occupancy rates of isolation rooms and intensive care units at hospitals in several areas have exceeded 70 per cent due to the soaring number of daily cases.

Adisasmito noted that the average active cases in December were recorded at 14.39 per cent of the total cases, up from 13.78 per cent last month.

So far, Indonesia has recorded a total of 657,948 cases, the highest in Southeast Asia, with 536,260 recovered patients and 19,659 fatalities.

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo said the government would provide free Covid-19 vaccines to al citizens.

The President also emphasised that he would be among the first to be vaccinated in Indonesia to convince the public that the vaccine is safe.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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