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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Pekanbaru first area in Sumatra granted request to impose large-scale social restrictions

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Mon, April 13, 2020   /   06:16 pm
COVID-19: Pekanbaru first area in Sumatra granted request to impose large-scale social restrictions A boy washes his hands at a mobile sink facility in a park in Pekanbaru, Riau, on March 28. (Antara/Rony Muharrman)

The Pekanbaru administration in Riau province is drafting a local regulation to officially impose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to slow the spread of COVID-19 after its request to the health minister was granted.

Pekanbaru is the first area outside of Java to be given the green light to impose a PSBB status after the health minister previously granted requests from Jakarta and its satellite cities.

Pekanbaru Mayor Firdaus said Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto signed decree no. 250/2020 on Sunday granting the status to Pekanbaru, two days after the city submitted its request.

The ministry approved the request following studies on epidemiology and preparedness by a technical team that found that Pekanbaru had fulfilled the requirements to implement the restrictions. 

PSBB status is aimed at restricting people’s mobility to slow the spread of the fast-spreading respiratory illness.

Firdaus said his administration was discussing the possibility of enforcing further restrictions in the city with members of a regional leaders’ forum. The authorities aim to complete the regulation in the next three days.

“The decree will stipulate the details of the regulations for residents, business players and transportation operators. Violators will face three months’ imprisonment,” he said on Monday.

His administration will complete a draft of the regulation and then send it to the Riau provincial administration before it is officially implemented.

“We aim to implement it at least three days after we obtained approval from the central government,” he said.

The PSBB status in Pekabaru will last for 14 to 20 days, to align with the longest incubation period for the disease.

Read also: COVID-19: Satellite cities to follow Jakarta's lead on PSBB

Firdaus called on residents not to be concerned over the implementation of the restrictions as some elements had been imposed since last month, such as school closures, the work from home policy for civil servants and the temporary closure of entertainment venues and public services.

“I encourage everyone to follow the PSBB rules in order to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission,” he said.

The city administration will continue to operate public services such as the Trans Metro Pekanbaru, although its operating schedule will be adjusted in accordance with COVID-19 health protocols.

Firdaus said the administration would also provide staple food for around 40,000 low-income families and those in isolation.

He also expressed hope the administration of neighboring areas like Kampar, Siak and Pelalawan regencies would request permission to impose partial lockdowns.

Riau province has recorded 20 confirmed cases as of Monday with zero fatalities.