Indonesia Readies for Life With Virus as Jakarta Curbs Eased
(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia will gradually ease restrictions in several cities, including the capital Jakarta, as it sets out a roadmap for life with the coronavirus for the next few years.
Those who are vaccinated can go to shopping centers and places of worship in Jakarta, as well as major cities of Bandung, Surabaya and Semarang, with the capacity set at maximum 25%, said Luhut Panjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs who’s overseeing the pandemic response. Bali’s situation remains concerning, he added.
The restrictions for Java and Bali are in place until Aug. 16, while curbs for other islands apply until Aug. 23.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy continues to top the world’s tally of daily Covid-19 deaths, even as new infections begin to ease in the most populated island of Java. The highly transmissible delta variant has now spread to its other islands, risking a worsening outbreak as the virus reaches areas with less-equipped healthcare systems and lower vaccination coverage.
Indonesia has shifted away from its previous goal of herd immunity, preparing instead to live with the virus. It’s likely that masks will be necessary for a few more years, Panjaitan said in the briefing on Monday. The government will also exclude daily fatalities from its consideration in setting out restrictions, as the data is still being compiled from weeks in the past, he added.
The easing is part of a broader trial as the government prepares roadmaps to reopen different parts of the economy, including trade, office activities, tourism as well as education. Those who have been vaccinated are likely to face less restrictions, with the government set to rely on its PeduliLindungi app to track positive cases and check people’s inoculation status.
At least 70% of people in Java and Bali should be vaccinated by the end of September, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said at the same event. The government is also focusing on inoculating 45 cities beyond those two islands amid rising cases there, he added.
With about 75 million doses administered so far, nearly 9% of Indonesians have been fully inoculated. That compares with 26% in neighboring Malaysia and 8% in India, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.
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