Indonesia postpones easing of Covid-19 restrictions

JAKARTA, 31 July 2020:

Indonesian authorities today began a two-week extension of its easing of restrictions, amid a growing number of Covid-19 cases.

The large-scale social restrictions or “transitional phase” of a gradual reopening of essential services ahead of a new normal was supposed to end yesterday. However, Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan announced the measure will be extended until Aug 13.

Covid-19 infections in Indonesia continue to rise in Indonesia with 2,040 new cases reported in the country overnight, taking the case tally to 108,376 so far.

According to the latest data available on the Indonesian government’s official website on Covid-19, 60,739 patients were still being monitored.

Between noon yesterday and noon today, another 73 fatalities were reported, bringing the death toll in the republic to 5,131.

Over the 24-hour period, Jakarta recorded the highest number of new cases with 430, followed by East Java (317), Central Java (235) while the rest were in the other provinces.

Also during the same period, 21 more deaths were reported in East Java, followed by 18 deaths in West Java, Jakarta (14 deaths) and the rest in the other provinces.

Indonesia is the Southeast Asian county worst hit country by the Covid-19 crisis. It has, however, not implemented strict lockdown measures and opted instead for isolating the population of the capital – which is the most affected region – by neighbourhoods and zones.

Health authorities yesterday confirmed 1,904 new Covid-19 cases across the country along with 83 deaths.

The capital’s positivity rate – or the percentage of positive results from all tests – hit 6.5% this week, above the 5% recommended by the World Health Organisation for relaxations, the Jakarta Post reported.

The reopening of Jakarta was planned for July 5, but was extended several times with the latest delay announced yesterday.

The country was on its way to a new normal and had allowed the reopening of its places of worship, companies and other businesses, although with several restrictions in place.

Health authorities of the country have criticised the lack of precautionary and social distancing measures followed by the population to contain the spread of Covid-19, along with scarce mask usage.

Despite the rise in the number of cases and the postponement of a complete reopening, the government of president Joko Widodo is more concerned about reviving the country’s economy, and one government representative urged people to take to the streets in the face of a drastic decrease in economic activity.

Indonesia, which with its 270 million inhabitants is the fourth most populated country in the world, is heading towards a recession with a projected fall in gross domestic product of 3% this year.