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Jakarta Post

No city-level or provincial scale quarantine so far: Govt details COVID-19 mitigation in upcoming regulation

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 30, 2020   /   09:45 pm
No city-level or provincial scale quarantine so far: Govt details COVID-19 mitigation in upcoming regulation Rush hour traffic on Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta on March 19, 2020. The traffic is not as busy as usual, as many companies instructed their employees to work from home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

An upcoming government regulation on regional quarantines is set to detail the types of mitigation measures that are deemed most appropriate to be implemented across various administration levels, including “large-scale social restriction”, to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country's regions, a minister has said.

Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had told his subordinates that provinces, cities and regencies were only to implement large-scale social restrictions, whereas regional quarantines – also known as partial quarantines – were to be imposed only in smaller areas.

“The President has instructed that what is allowed for regencies, cities or provinces is to implement large-scale social restrictions, while regional quarantines can be implemented only on a smaller scale, such as at the neighborhood level, [...] in accordance with the local administration’s procedures,” Muhadjir said on Monday.

“We expect [such provisions] to be included in the government regulation,” he said, adding that he expected the regulation to be issued within two or three days.

Muhadjir went on to say that the implementation of large-scale social restrictions should be adjusted according to the various emergency responses in each province. Regional quarantines are only allowed to be imposed to curb contagion on a smaller scale, such as on a certain neighborhood unit (RT), according to him.

“Several governors have proposed smaller-scale [mitigation]. The President has approved it. For instance, if there are infected individuals within a neighborhood unit, partial quarantine might be imposed on just that one area,” he said.

Similarly, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said on Monday that regional quarantine could not be imposed at the level of regencies, cities or provinces as the decision to lock down such large-scale areas fell with the central government.

"[Authorities] can lock down a neighborhood unit, a community unit, a village, a subdistrict and a district at the maximum scale if the areas show massive spread of COVID-19," Ridwan said in provincial capital Bandung on Monday.

Read also: Jokowi refuses to impose lockdown on Jakarta

During such partial quarantine, authorities would impose restrictions of movement on all activities, except for purchases of food supplies and medical emergencies.

The regional administration would be responsible for ensuring distribution of staple food in the quarantined areas, Ridwan said, adding that regional leaders might establish a makeshift kitchen to cater to the people in the locked down areas.

"There is no such thing as regional quarantine for a regency, city or province without the President's authorization," he added.

Despite calls for the President to impose quarantine and restrict access in and out of virus-plagued regions in the country, especially hardest-hit Jakarta, Jokowi maintained on Monday that no such quarantine might be imposed, as he instead ordered his aides to impose stricter rules on physical distancing coupled with "civil emergency policies" to contain the unabated COVID-19 spread.

Large-scale social restrictions as well as regional quarantines are regulated under the 2018 Health Quarantine Law.

According to the law, large-scale social restrictions include suspending schools and offices, limiting religious activities and restricting gathering in public places.

Meanwhile, civil emergencies are regulated under Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No.23/1959 on a state of emergency

Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman said the civil emergency policies would be imposed only when things became significantly worse.

As of Monday afternoon, Indonesia has recorded a total of 1,414 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 122 fatalities. (rfa)