The Jakarta Post
Physical distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19 while on the roads can be difficult, especially as people’s mobility increases with the easing of restrictions, but officials in East Java have come up with a unique and creative plan.
The Transportation Agency in Tuban Regency, East Java, has cooperated with local police to prevent crowding at traffic lights at the Kembang Ijo intersection during rush hours.
Motorcyclists are required to stop behind the drawn lines, spaced 1.5 meters apart, similar to the starting grid of a MotoGP racing track.
Tuban Transportation Agency head Muji Slamet said the innovation had received a positive response from various parties.
“We are in a two-week trial run,” Muji said on Wednesday, adding that during the trial period, the agency would also draw distancing lines at the crossing near the Letda Sutjipto statue, as well as at the Sambong, Gadean and Bravo intersection.
East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa had also praised the agency’s creativity, he said. “She appreciated the innovation and expressed hope other cities and regencies in East Java will follow us."
Officers from the transportation agency and the traffic police are monitoring the motorcyclists compliance, with CCTV cameras installed in the area. “If [riders] do not comply, we will notify them through loudspeakers,” Muji said as quoted by kompas.com.
At least two other regions, namely Nganjuk regency and Blitar city, have followed suit. Muji also said the agency had coordinated with Tuban regional secretary Budi Wiyana regarding plans to use similar markers in more areas.
Tuban Police traffic unit head Adj. Comr. Argo Budi Sarwono said the police supported the transportation agency’s policy, saying it was a good step to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
East Java, which has replaced Jakarta as the country’s newest COVID-19 epicenter, has recorded 7,103 confirmed cases, with 297 new cases reported on Thursday afternoon. The province has recorded 553 fatalities linked to the disease with 1,793 people having recovered.
The provincial COVID-19 task force previously admitted that cases had continued to rise in East Java despite the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Surabaya city and its satellite regencies of Gresik and Sidoarjo since April 28.
The East Java administration has decided not to extend the PSBB period that ended on Monday and has instead imposed a two-week period of transitional restrictions as it prepares to implement “new normal” measures. (syk)