East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa has finally decided to submit a request to implement large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to the Health Ministry to stop the spread of COVID-19 as a result of a rising number of cases over the past three days.
Khofifah, who was previously adamant about not implementing the restrictions, said the provincial COVID-19 task force had requested detailed measures from Greater Surabaya administrations -- Surabaya, Sidoarjo, Gresik and Lamongan -- in the efforts to significantly reduce the spread of the virus.
The detailed measures are part of requirements that any region must meet before requesting PSBB status.
"We are waiting for the detailed [measures]. I’ve been informed that the respective administrations are working hard on it. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow [Thursday] we will receive an update," Khofifah told the press on Tuesday at the governor's official residence, the Grahadi Building, in Surabaya.
East Java recorded a sharp increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last three days, bringing the total tally to 474 with 81 recoveries and 45 fatalities as of Tuesday.
Surabaya is the hardest hit city in the province with 228 confirmed cases. Surabaya’s satellite cities such as Sidoarjo, Lamongan and Gresik have seen 45, 25 and 18 confirmed cases, respectively.
The head of the task force's curative team, Joni Wahyuhadi, told The Jakarta Post that cities and regencies that were hard hit by the virus should have requested PSBB status.
He refuted an accusation that put the provincial COVID-19 task force into the spotlight for discouraging cities and regencies from submitting their respective requests for PSBB status.
"Each time the governor, as the provincial task force head, announces the progress of COVID-19 spread in respective cities and regencies, those with a high number of confirmed cases, especially Surabaya, should [automatically] think of stricter measures to stop the spread," said Joni.
Separately, Surabaya task force spokesperson M. Fikser said the city administration had been working on the detailed measures that would be included in its PSBB status request.
"I have not yet been informed about the progress of the meeting on the matter," he told the Post.
A source familiar with the matter revealed to the Post that the Surabaya administration had been preparing the measures for the request long before the surge in cases.
However, the source said that Governor Khofifah was disappointed with the Surabaya administration’s actions, which were deemed taken without coordination with the provincial administration.
"There have been silent disagreements between the two leaders,” said the source, referring to Khofifah and Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini.