The Jakarta Post
Netizens have raised concerns over public health as images and videos of large crowds inundating the streets of Central Jakarta on the first Car Free Day (CFD) following months of large-scale restrictions (PSBB) spread on social media.
CFD had been suspended since March 15 as part of the city administration’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Internet personality and television host Gemala Hanafiah posted on her official Twitter page a video showing a large number of people walking and cycling near the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on Jl. Thamrin on Sunday.
CFD Jkt yg dah dibuka pagi ini pic.twitter.com/bKkeiY1Dzy— IG : @g_hanafiah (@g_hanafiah) June 21, 2020
“CFD in Jakarta has returned this morning,” @g_hanafiah tweeted.
Another Twitter user, @adriansyahyasin, shared a series of photos showing a crowd of cyclists and joggers on Jl. Sudirman, while saying the lack of proper public spaces in the capital city had left most people with no other choice but to gather in a single location just to exercise.
CFD yang ramai adalah bukti Jakarta tidak memiliki persebaran ruang publik terbuka berkualitas yang merata, sampe semua orang harus tumplek blek nunggu jalan ini ditutup atau ke GBK hanya untuk berolahraga— Adriansyah Yasin Sulaeman (@adriansyahyasin) June 21, 2020
Kalo diseantero Jakarta jalannya aman buat bersepeda mungkin lain cerita pic.twitter.com/IQarnLHiw9
“A crowded CFD proves that Jakarta lacks public spaces, so much so that everyone had to flock here […] or to the GBK [Gelora Bung Karno sports complex] just to exercise,” he wrote in the caption of the post.
Fellow netizens have since conveyed their concerns about the risks of coronavirus transmission on CFD, with some even speculating that the weekly event could turn into a new outbreak cluster due to the lax implementation of physical distancing measures.
It's Car Free Day, not COVID free day, good people.— Raya Fahreza Wiguna (@rayafahreza) June 21, 2020
"It's Car Free Day, not COVID free day, good people," @rayafahreza tweeted.
Other Twitter users said that it was hard to blame residents for wanting to go outdoors.
Satu sisi kayak takut bgt ga sih virus nya nyebar ke lebih banyak orang liat rame bgt gitu, tapi sisi lain mereka pasti udh bosen bgt dirumah, sekali nya cfd dibuka membludak org² nya, stay safe aja deh buat kalian disna.— lawmye (@huxleyycallum) June 21, 2020
"One the one hand, I'm very worried that the virus will spread to many people seeing how big the crowd is, but on the other hand, they must be so bored at home," @huxleyycallum wrote.
The Jakarta Police have deployed personnel on Jl. Thamrin to ensure that residents obey health protocols such as wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing.
10.58 Kamsel Dit Lantas PMJ melaksanakan Giat Sosialisasi dan Himbauan untuk tetap menjaga kebersihan dan menerapkan protokol kesehatan di tengah warga Jakarta yg melakukan kegiatan CFD di BUndaran HI. pic.twitter.com/3TKY4I57xa— TMC Polda Metro Jaya (@TMCPoldaMetro) June 21, 2020
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said last Sunday that the administration would resume the weekly CFD. However, activities during the transitional PSBB period would be restricted to bicycle riding and outdoor exercise, with street vendors prohibited from operating.
According to the official government count, Jakarta had 9,971 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 586 deaths as of Sunday.