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Jakarta reimposes partial virus lockdown



Authorities in the Indonesian capital reimposed a partial coronavirus lockdown on Monday and vowed to strictly isolate anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 as infections skyrocketed in the metropolis.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the city would resume large-scale social restrictions for two weeks from Monday, calling it necessary to prevent the health system from collapsing.

Non-essential businesses are only allowed to operate at 25% of capacity, restaurants can only serve take-out, and schools, parks and tourist sites have been ordered to close.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 – including asymptomatic patients – will need to undergo mandatory quarantine at government facilities, he said.

“If a person who tests positive refuses to be isolated in the designated facility, health workers and law enforcement will come and get them,” Baswedan said at a press conference on Sunday.

Jakarta first introduced coronavirus restrictions in early April, but started easing them in June.

Weeks later, however, the capital saw a surge in new cases of COVID-19.

Thousands of soldiers and police are deployed to enforce restrictions that were often flouted before.

However, the regulations could prove difficult to enforce.

“I will continue to work despite the large-scale restrictions,” said Taufik, who works in a grocery store.

“It’s a good policy, but I have to keep working on a daily basis because that’s where I earn my income,” he told reporters.

Indonesia is the most affected country in Southeast Asia by the coronavirus, with 221,523 infections and 8,841 deaths.

Jakarta reported more than 55,000 cases on Monday with nearly 1,500 deaths.

National COVID-19 task force leader Doni Monardo said 20 of the 67 COVID-19 referral hospitals in Jakarta reported their ICU occupancy rates of over 60%.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced that 15 hotels will be used to quarantine COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms.

Jakarta administrators have also converted part of an athlete village built for international sporting events for asymptomatic patients who need to be quarantined.

“The goal is to provide more places for self-isolation so people don’t have to quarantine their homes with inadequate health standards,” Monardo said Monday.

In the nearby town of Bekasi, the local government has also converted a sports stadium into a quarantine facility for asymptomatic patients. – AFP

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