Jokowi Said to Plan to Unveil More Java, Bali Curbs Thursday

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo plans to announce tighter movement curbs for Java and Bali islands, local economic centers that are suffering the brunt of the pandemic, on Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter.

The restrictions, set to take effect July 3 through 20, is still in discussion and may change, said the people, who asked not to be named as they’re not authorized to speak on the issue.

The curbs may include the following, according to slides presented at a Wednesday meeting as confirmed by the people:

  • Full work-from-home order for non-essential sectors
  • Maximum 50% work-from-office for essential sectors including financial services and communication
  • Full work-from-office allowed for critical sectors including food, transport, energy and health services
  • All shopping centers in affected areas to be ordered to shut
  • Restaurants in affected areas restricted to takeaway only

Various officials have earlier revealed parts of the measures being considered, including shorter operating hours for malls and restaurants, as well as stricter work-from-home orders. The government’s protracted discussion over how strict and how broadly the curbs need to be applied shows the challenges faced by Jokowi, as the president is known, in responding to a virus resurgence at a time when the economy is just about to exit its first recession in two decades.

“This is a very difficult time,” he said in a speech on Wednesday. “This isn’t an easy time for the business world, for our economy or the world. Truly very difficult. It isn’t easy to resolve because it doesn’t only affect economic issues, but also health issues.”

Record Cases

Already Southeast Asia’s virus hot spot, Indonesia has added more than 20,000 new Covid-19 cases each day and breached a new record on Wednesday. Its positivity rate, the proportion of those tested who turn out to have been infected with the coronavirus, surged to about 30%, much higher than the World Health Organization recommendation for the rate to be below 5% and a sign of insufficient testing.

Jokowi defended against public calls for a lockdown as recently as last week, when he said current measures limited to areas most at risk can curb the spread of infections without “killing the people’s economy.”

Instead, the government is relying heavily on a mass vaccination program, offering the shots to all adults and teenagers to reach a goal of administering 1 million doses each day in July, and to 2.5 million eventually.

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