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Jakarta Post

Jakarta again shuts down Car Free Day due to 'undisciplined' crowds

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, June 26, 2020   /   06:01 am
Jakarta again shuts down Car Free Day due to 'undisciplined' crowds Cabin fever horde: Thousands of Jakartans take to the streets around the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on foot or bicycle to during the revival of Car Free Day (CFD) on June 21, 2020. The large mass of people raised renewed concerns over increased spread of COVID-19 in the epicenter of the Indonesian outbreak, following the recent easing of the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) on June 8. (JP/Donny Fernando)

The Jakarta administration has once again suspended Car Free Day (CFD) amid concerns over public health and safety following reports of large crowds turning up to the weekly event's reopening on Sunday, despite the physical distancing still in force.

Jakarta Transportation Agency head Syafrin Liputo confirmed that the administration had reimposed suspension on the event.

“Correct, [the CFD] on Sudirman and Thamrin is suspended,” Syafrin told kompas.com on Wednesday, referring to the major thoroughfares in Central Jakarta where the event takes place on Sundays.

Separately, Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) head Arifin said that the administration planned to use public spaces like parks to accommodate Jakartans accustomed to exercising outdoors during the CFD.

“For the time being, the CFD on Sudirman and Thamrin is suspended. But there may be alternative spaces […] so people can [exercise] outside of Sudirman and Thamrin,” said Arifin. “We will look for public spaces in the city that can [host] physical activities.”

He said that moving the CFD elsewhere would minimize the number of people that could gather in one place at a particular time.

Photographs and videos showed thousands of Jakartans flooding Central Jakarta on Sunday, walking, jogging or cycling down the two streets. The mass outdoor activity during the COVID-19 health emergency raised public health concerns, particularly in the epicenter of the Indonesian outbreak.

The CFD on June 21 was the first since it was suspended on March 15, nearly a month before the capital implemented the large-scale restrictions (PSBB) on April 10.

Responding to lax discipline among participants in maintaining physical distance on Sunday, Prasetio Edi of the Jakarta Legislative Council (DPRD) urged the administration to consider suspending the event to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection.

“The CFD a couple of days ago must be reevaluated because Jakarta residents still lack discipline [in following the health protocols],” Prasetio said on Tuesday.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced on June 14 that the CFD would be revived the following Sunday "for exercise only", and that street vendors would be banned from the event during the transition from the PSBB to the "new normal" phase.

By Tuesday, Jakarta had recorded 10,123 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 619 deaths linked to the disease. (rfa)