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Jakarta Post

Governor Anies calls for greater authority to handle COVID-19 epicenter

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 2, 2020   /   07:14 pm
Governor Anies calls for greater authority to handle COVID-19 epicenter Few vehicles are seen on the usually busy Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta as the government called on people to stay home amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Jakarta on March 31. (AFP/Adek Berry)

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is demanding the government issue a regulation granting him authority to handle not only Jakarta but also its satellite cities to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

The governor said he needed greater authority because Jakarta, the national epicenter of the outbreak, bordered with cities that fall within two neighboring provinces. The cities are Bogor, Depok and Bekasi in West Java and Tangerang in Banten.

The recently issued Government Regulation No. 21/2020 on large-scale social restriction (PSBB) stipulates that a governor may only limit mobility within his province.

“The situation in Jakarta is very concerning,” Anies said during an online video conference with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Thursday. “Therefore, we recommend [the government] issue a separate policy for Greater Jakarta where the spread of COVID-19 ignores administrative borders.”

Read also: People are dying, ‘Pak’ Ma’ruf: Anies reports Jakarta’s harrowing situation to VP

The Jakarta administration recently extended a state of emergency in Jakarta until April 19, imposing large-scale social restrictions that have been in place since March 16 suspending school, office, religious and public activities.

As of Thursday, the fast-spreading COVID-19 had infected 885 people in Jakarta — nearly half of the country’s confirmed cases. Of the confirmed cases in the capital, 90 people have died.

However, Anies said “the enforcement [of the restriction] was very limited” because the restriction was not mandatory.

The governor was expected to write on Thursday a letter to the Health Minister to officially launch large-scale social restrictions in Jakarta.

“We may tighten it in the near future,” said Anies.