The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta administration has started distributing social aid to those in need to mitigate the hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in the capital on Friday.
Aid distribution began on Thursday in Penjaringan subdistrict, North Jakarta. The aid packages consisted of staple foods, cloth masks and soap. They were prepared beforehand by city-owned market operator Pasar Jaya.
Jakarta Social Affairs Agency head Irmansyah said the office had cooperated with security personnel to distribute the assistance door to door to comply with physical distancing rules.
“Residents don't need to gather around to get social aid. We will come door to door so we will not cause a crowd that could potentially lead to wider transmission of COVID-19,” Irmansyah said in a statement on Thursday.
The distribution of social aid is in line with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s recent order to hasten aid distribution to 3.7 million low-income families across Greater Jakarta affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to staple food packages, the government has promised to distribute social assistance funds. The President has instructed the Social Affairs Ministry to work with the Jakarta administration to that end.
The city administration collected data from all of Jakarta’s subdistricts and decided that Penjaringan was the priority to receive social assistance due to its population size.
Penjaringan has among the highest number of people under monitoring (ODP) and patients under surveillance (PDP) for COVID-19 in the city, according to Jakarta Health Agency data.
Irmansyah said the aid distribution would be carried out in two phases, with the first phase lasting from Thursday to April 18 and targeting 1.2 million underprivileged and vulnerable families affected by COVID-19.
“The next phase will start from April 19 to April 23 for poor and vulnerable residents who have not been registered,” he said, adding that those in phase two would need to report to their community unit heads for further verification.
As of Thursday, the Health Ministry had confirmed 3,293 cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia and 280 deaths. Jakarta, the country's outbreak epicenter, has confirmed 1,706 cases and 142 fatalities.