Indonesia to Enforce Stricter Curbs to Halt Spike in Covid
(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia is set to enforce stricter restrictions of a larger scale in a bid to halt a rapid rise in coronavirus infections.
The new measures will be comprehensive and people living in heavily-infected areas will be asked to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, Alexander Ginting, a member of the Covid-19 taskforce said in a televised interview with Metro TV on Tuesday. The government is finalizing the plan and an official announcement will be made soon, he added.
President Joko Widodo has also appointed Luhut Panjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs, to coordinate the “emergency” set of restrictions for Java and Bali islands, said the ministry’s spokesman Jodi Mahardi. Supermarkets, shopping malls and essential sectors will continue to operate with shorter hours and stricter health protocols, he added.
Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is battling a resurgence in Covid-19 cases made worse by the more contagious Delta variant. The strain has now spread widely across Java, the most populated island, while hospitalization rates exceeded 90%, according to the health ministry.
Jokowi, as the president is known, previously resisted public calls for a lockdown, saying the existing restrictions focused on the most heavily-infected areas can curb the spread of infections without “killing the people’s economy,” he said last Wednesday.
With less than 10% of the country’s 270 million people vaccinated, he is pushing to double inoculation rate to 2 million per day, which he hopes to achieve in August. The country added over 20,000 new infections on Tuesday, taking its total confirmed cases to more than 2.1 million.
Under the new restrictions, malls in some areas will have to close at 5 p.m. and restaurants will no longer be allowed to accept dine-in customers and will operate at shorter hours until 8 p.m., Ganip Warsito, head of the Covid-19 taskforce told Metro TV in a separate interview.
Earlier, The Straits Times reported, citing unnamed government officials, that non-essential workers will be told to work from home under the new rules and all domestic air services will only fly vaccinated travelers and those who have tested negative for the virus.
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