(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia announced tighter social distancing measures in capital Jakarta, including closing of offices and a ban on gathering of more than five people to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Operational hours of public transport services including railways, subway and city buses will be curtailed and users will need to follow distancing rules, Governor Anies Baswedan said on Tuesday. The new set of rules, effective from Friday for 14 days, will be enforced strictly and the duration can be extended if needed, he said.
Jakarta is the epicenter of the virus outbreak in Indonesia with the city of about 10.5 million people accounting for almost 50% of the nation’s total confirmed cases of 2,738. The capital has seen a surge in infections in recent weeks after reporting its first cases only in early March, prompting authorities to shutter schools, spas, restaurants and entertainment spots from the middle of last month.
The new social distancing measures are part of President Joko Widodo’s efforts to streamline quarantine rules across the archipelago to curb the deadly virus amid forecast the pandemic may infect as many as 95,000 people by the end of next month before easing. The president has rejected calls to lock down cities and regions to fight the virus, saying such harsh steps would hurt the poor the most.
The social distancing rules in Jakarta should also be extended to adjoining satellite towns such as Bekasi, Bogor and Depok to prevent the spread of the virus, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said in a statement.
But the surge in cases has overwhelmed the country’s health care system, with authorities struggling to procure enough personal protection equipment, hazmat suits and ventilators for medical workers. The world’s fourth-most populous nation, along with India and the Philippines, could soon become the next Covid-19 hot spots given their large populations, weak health care infrastructure and social security net, according to Nomura Holdings Inc.
Other social distancing measures for Jakarta include:
Financial services, capital markets to function normallyParks, museums, sports centers to be shut from FridayNo ban on marriages but weddings need to be conducted in officesEmergency services such as food, water, gas, power, health and media among 8 sectors exempted from curbsPublic transport operations limited to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.Government to start distribution of food for poor from ThursdayViolators of rules to face sanctions
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