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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Greater Bandung regional leaders to jointly seek approval for PSBB

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Wed, April 15, 2020   /   07:08 pm
COVID-19: Greater Bandung regional leaders to jointly seek approval for PSBB Medical workers take blood samples while conducting rapid tests for COVID-19 at Bandung City Hall Park in Bandung, West Java, on April 4. (Antara/Novrian Arbi)

The heads of five regions of Greater Bandung, West Java, have agreed to Governor Ridwan Kamil’s plan to jointly request the Health Ministry's approval for imposing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) this week.

Home to a combined population of around 8.6 million people, the five regions – Bandung city, Bandung regency, West Bandung regency, Cimahi city and Sumedang regency – seek to enforce the same measures as those to be imposed in Jakarta’s satellite cities in West Java starting Wednesday.

“We agreed to send the PSBB request to the Health Ministry by Thursday,” Ridwan said during a coordination meeting with the regional heads through a video conference on Tuesday.

If the PSBB request for the Greater Bandung area was approved by the end of this week, the implementation would start on April 22, Ridwan said.

“[The implementation] will be based on the same pattern and strategy as that in Bogor, Depok and Bekasi,” Ridwan said.

Ridwan also instructed the regional heads in Greater Bandung to prepare a social safety net to address the social and economic impacts resulting from the restrictions.

West Java COVID-19 task force secretary Daud Achmad said Greater Bandung needed to implement the mobility restrictions because the area had confirmed a high number of COVID-19 cases, second only to Greater Jakarta.

“Greater Bandung is the [main] epicenter of the coronavirus after Greater Jakarta,” Daud said.

Separately, Bandung COVID-19 task force head Ema Sumarna said she had been finalizing data on potential recipients of social aid in Bandung city.

“We are cleaning up the data so that it is right on target. We are also calculating our financial capabilities,” Ema said.

The Bandung city administration has allocated Rp 298 billion (US$19 million) for COVID-19 countermeasures, Rp 218 billion of which are allocated for social safety, Rp 75 billion for health care and Rp 5 billion for the task force's operational activities.

Ema said Bandung was currently home to 137,000 poor households, but the PSBB measures would likely cause nearly 20,000 more households to fall into poverty.

Under the social safety net, each eligible family is projected to receive Rp 500,000 per month for the next three months.

Ema said the city administration had been looking for ways to enhance its social aid programs, as tax revenue from various sectors had declined drastically.

“Taxes from the hospitality sector are near zero, and those from the restaurant business decreased quite dramatically. Entertainment activities are no longer contributing, as they are prohibited,” Ema said, adding that the income from land and buildings as well as parking had also been affected. 

After Jakarta, West Java is the province hit hardest by COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the Health Ministry recorded 559 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province, with 52 deaths. (syk)