The Jakarta Post
The Transportation Ministry is preparing a scenario for a local quarantine in Greater Jakarta to slow the spread of COVID-19, depending on a decision expected to be made at a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday, a ministry official said.
Transportation Ministry land transportation director general Budi Setyadi said that the ministry, in coordination with the National Police's traffic corps, had developed a plan including so-called "stopping posts" at toll gates and along other roads to and from Greater Jakarta.
If a regional quarantine is enacted, the police at the posts will turn back those trying to enter or leave the city.
"We have not ruled out the possibility [of a local quarantine], but the decision depends on the leaders," Budi told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. "We are only acting as the implementer who creates the standard operating procedures and [plans] what the protocol will look like."
The government has already issued a warning discouraging people living in Greater Jakarta from leaving the city for their hometowns for the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus).
However, many have ignored the warning. Central Java, for example, has reported thousands of mudik travelers arriving in the province, including in Jepara with 1,776 arrivals, Purwokerto with 2,323 and Wonogiri with 2,625 as of Tuesday.
Central Java had reported 55 confirmed cases and seven deaths as of Saturday, the fifth highest number of cases of the country’s provinces.
"After the meeting [on Monday], I do not know whether it will still be a stronger warning or a complete ban. It depends on the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister, [Luhut Binsar Panjaitan]," Budi said.
Budi previously told reporters during an online press briefing on Friday that his ministry was ready to close the entrances to Greater Jakarta and other national roads. However, he said he had no knowledge about when the decision would be made.
The Post has obtained a copy of a classified Jakarta Police telegram, dated March 28, ordering the closure of the city's main roads.
Jakarta Police spokesman, Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus, did not deny the authenticity of the telegram but said that the police were merely training for the possibility of a local quarantine.
"We are still implementing physical distancing and social distancing, because there have yet to be any government regulations [requiring quarantine]," Yusri told the Post on Sunday.
Indonesia had reported 1,155 confirmed COVID-19 nationwide as of Saturday, 627 of which were located in Jakarta. Sixty-two people have died of the disease in the capital, while 43 have recovered.
While the total number of COVID-19 cases in Greater Jakarta is unclear, many of those who tested positive in other regions had recently traveled to Bogor and Bekasi, West Java, which is the province with the second-highest number cases in the country.
Medical experts and COVID-19 volunteers have called on the government to implement local quarantines in virus-stricken areas such as Greater Jakarta. They say the government's policy of physical distancing is not sufficient to contain the spread of the disease.
The 2018 Health Quarantine Law stipulates that during public health emergencies, the central government can impose "regional quarantines" on areas that experience an outbreak of a disease. (dfr)
Riza Roidila Mufti and Sausan Atika contributed to this story.