16 September 2020
- Fresh restrictions in Jakarta likely to be extended beyond 27 September as fortnight will be insufficient to ease strain on medical facilities
- Extension of restrictions into October will prolong operational disruptions such as building closures and office capacity constraints
- Governor will be keen to ease measures as infection curve declines, but doing so too early will risk prolonging outbreak and necessitating further shutdowns
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan reintroduced large-scale social restrictions in the capital from 14 September. Under the new rules, non-essential businesses have been closed, and a 50% capacity limit has been imposed on offices in 11 critical sectors, including healthcare, communications, utilities and construction. An earlier regulation requiring individual offices to close for three days if a worker tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was also strengthened to require a three-day closure of the entire building. The restrictions will run until 27 September. The new rules also require anyone infected with COVID-19 to isolate at a government facility rather than at home. The head of the national COVID-19 Handling Task Force said the government would rent two- and three-star hotels in Jakarta and Bali for this purpose.
Baswedan began to relax restrictions in early June and has been reluctant to reimpose them, despite Jakarta recording more new daily cases than anywhere else in the country every day since early August. The capital has reported an average of more than 1,000 new cases each day this month, and Baswedan cited the rate of new cases, the mortality rate and the limited availability of ICU and isolation facilities as his reasons for introducing more comprehensive containment measures. Bali, which reopened to domestic visitors on 31 July but has remained closed to foreign tourists, has meanwhile recorded a notable increase in cases since mid-August. This explains the Task Force’s statement that the government would also rent isolation facilities…