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Jakarta Post

Govt exploring option of reopening economy in five regions

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 15, 2020   /   12:17 pm
Govt exploring option of reopening economy in five regions

The government is mulling over a plan to begin reopening the economy in five regions, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has said.

The regions include two provinces, namely Yogyakarta and tourist hotspot Bali, as well as Batam and Bintan Island in Riau Islands and Manado in North Sulawesi.

Of the over 16,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, Yogyakarta and Bali had recorded 181 and 332 cases respectively, while Batam and Bintan had a combined 83 cases and Manado had 43 cases.

“We see that the COVID-19 pandemic has plateaued in some regions,” Luhut said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday. “If that is the case, we are planning to begin easing in some places.”

After more than two months since the country announced the first two cases in March, the government has begun to discuss a plan to ease the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed in hard-hit regions.

Currently, Jakarta and East Java are the worst-hit areas, with the former recording 5,688 cases as of Thursday.

Four provinces, including Jakarta and West Java, have imposed PSBB measures. Other provinces have implemented the restrictions in part, with total of 72 regencies and cities enacting the PSBB.

The five regions mentioned have not introduced any sort of government-imposed social restrictions.

“Of course this is subject to change depending on the development of COVID-19 two weeks from now. If we look at the available data, the current figure is an improvement from yesterday’s,” he said.

Citing economic considerations, the Transportation Ministry allowed public transportation to resume operations last week by opening air, land and sea transportation services in a move that drew strong criticism from experts.

According to a document leaked to the public recently, the government was considering a five-stage framework to go back to business as usual by the end of July. However, experts fear the plan may trigger a second wave of the pandemic.