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Jakarta Post

Four regions call off PSBB amid lack of funds, central government's easing plan

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 28, 2020   /   01:45 pm
Four regions call off PSBB amid lack of funds, central government's easing plan Motorcyclists ride through road barriers during local quarantine on Jl. Sultan Agung, Tegal city in Central Java on April 2. (Antara/Oky Lukmansyah)

The administrations of three municipalities and one regency, namely Gowa regency in South Sulawesi, Makassar also in South Sulawesi, Tegal in Central Java and Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan have decided not to continue implementing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), leaving 23 other regions holding on to the measures to ward off COVID-19 transmission.

There are also only four provinces imposing the PSBB at provincial level, namely Jakarta, West Java, Gorontalo and West Sumatra, which comprise 58 regencies and municipalities. Meanwhile, as of Wednesday, 410 regencies and municipalities across all 34 provinces have been affected by the coronavirus.

The decision of the regional administrations to put an end to the PSBB without any more extensions came in the past two weeks, with some considering its ineffectiveness after the central government allowed resumption of public transportation services early this month.

1. Gowa regency, South Sulawesi

The Health Ministry granted the request made by Gowa regency in South Sulawesi in late April and the regency imposed the PSBB starting May 4.

After the two-week implementation ended on May 17, the local administration decided not to extend the restrictions.

“PSBB regulations no longer synergize with the government’s current policies, [...] which will go linear even down to the village administrations,” Gowa regent Adnan Purichta Ichsan Yasin Limpo said during a recent teleconference, as quoted by kompas.com.

Adnan conceded that another factor pushing him to pull the plug on the policy was the inability of the Gowa administration to support the large budget needed if the PSBB were still in place.

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He said the spread of the coronavirus was centered in the districts bordering the city of Makassar, namely Somba Opu district, Pallangga district and Barombong district. The regency has 18 districts.

To prevent further transmission, the Gowa administration is currently relying on strict monitoring of people’s mobility, while raising awareness of the community to follow physical distancing and other health protocols.

2.    Makassar city, South Sulawesi

PSBB implementation in Makassar, the famous port city home to 1.5 million people, lasted for almost a month. The first phase was from April 24 to May 5, before the administration extended it to May 22 but decided not to go to a third phase.

Makassar acting mayor Yusran Jusuf believed the community had grasped the idea of proper health protocols when implementing the two-stage PSBB, so that he planned to adapt such protocols into a Perwali (mayoral regulation).

“We have coordinated with business actors in Makassar related to the PSBB expiration and the issuance of Perwali regarding health protocols. These health protocols are guidelines, but binding, with sanctions for violators,” Yusran said last week.

3.    Tegal city, Central Java

Tegal was the first region in Central Java to implement the PSBB at the regency or municipal level. It was also the first city in the country that decided not to continue with the restriction policy after implementing it in two phases from April 23 to May 22.

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Toward the end of the PSBB period, the Tegal administration decided not to extend to a third phase given that the region had been designated a “green zone” for COVID-19.

Before implementing the PSBB, Tegal imposed a local lockdown. Tegal Mayor Dedy Yon Supriyono closed all access to Tegal city in late March and planned for the lockdown to last until around July.

4.    Palangkaraya city, Central Kalimantan

The Palangkaraya administration decided not to extend the implementation of the PSBB, which were first applied in May 11 and lifted on the first day of Idul Fitri on May 24.

The local authorities considered the PSBB ineffective in restricting people’s mobility in crowded places like traditional markets, where transmission of COVID-19 often occurred.

“After evaluation, we then decided to end the one-stage PSBB and go on with the so-called Humanis District-Scale Restrictions [PSKH],” said Palangkaraya deputy mayor Umi Mastikah.

The city’s COVID-19 task force head Emi Abriyani said after the policy ended, that the administration would strengthen patrols and command posts in areas prone to transmission, including in the cross-border areas. She further said the city would still impose limited operational hours for businesses as well as social and physical restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. (syk)