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Jakarta Post

Semarang extends restrictions after discovering new COVID-19 clusters

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang   /   Fri, May 22, 2020   /   03:28 pm
Semarang extends restrictions after discovering new COVID-19 clusters Members of the Semarang Military Police visit a local market to oversee the implementation of health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Semarang, Central Java, on Monday. (Antara/Aji Styawan)

The Semarang administration in Central Java has decided to extend its social-restriction policy for two weeks following the discovery of 17 COVID-19 cases in three newly emerged clusters in the city.

Semarang Mayor Hendrar Prihadi said the restriction policy would remain in place until June 7. The administration had previously intended to end the measures on May 24, about a month after their implementation on April 27.

"We saw declining COVID-19 cases in the first two weeks of the policy’s implementation [...] But over the past two days, Semarang residents seem to have ignored the fact that they're still living with COVID-19 and have chosen to go out of their homes to prepare for Idul Fitri celebrations," Hendrar said on Thursday evening.

Semarang imposed “public activity restriction” measures, similar to the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed in dozens of regions throughout the archipelago, to stem the spread of the virus.

On the first day that the policy was in force, Semarang recorded 138 daily cases. The figure decreased to 47 on the 14th day of the policy. The curve, however, appears to have risen again with the emergence of three new clusters, Hendrar said.

Read also: COVID-19: Java on 'red alert' as deaths spike

The clusters originated in a market, an informal education institution and a hospital, he explained.

Eight people tested positive for the virus in a series of random swab tests in a market.

"We are investigating the case further,” he added.

The authorities plan to carry out additional rapid and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in crowded areas like shopping centers.

If they find positive cases in a specific area, they will close it for sterilization. 

Semarang will close its borders to people arriving from red zones, including Jakarta, West Java and East Java, to comply with the central government’s mudik (exodus) ban and further contain the spread of the virus, Hendrar added. (vny)