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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Jakarta still undecided on extending PSBB transition despite surge in cases

  • Nina Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, July 30, 2020   /   07:34 am
COVID-19: Jakarta still undecided on extending PSBB transition despite surge in cases Motorists ride past giant electronic billboards promoting the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in Jakarta on July 21. (AFP/BAY ISMOYO )

Jakarta has yet to decide whether to extend its transitional period of COVID-19 restrictions despite having continuously hit new records in daily numbers of new infections ever since curbs began to be eased.

The city's large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), currently described as a "transitional" phase with the gradual reopening of several essential services, was supposed to end on Thursday after the Jakarta administration extended the period for two weeks from July 16.

Deputy Jakarta governor Ahmad Riza Patria, however, said the city administration was still undecided. As of Tuesday, authorities were still evaluating the transitional PSBB policy and reviewing future options, he said.

If the evaluation results were good, Ahmad said Jakarta would end the policy to enter what he dubbed a period of “safe, healthy and productive” social life where residents could co-exist with the coronavirus.

"If the transmission rate still remains high like now, it's very likely that we'll extend the transitional PSBB for the third time," Ahmad said, adding that the city administration would continue limiting maximum capacities to 50 percent in public places, offices and on transportation.

"If the situation gets worse, it's not impossible that we will restore [the previously stricter] PSBB," he added.

Read also: Muslims in Jakarta’s 33 red zones should avoid Idul Adha mass prayers

Jakarta has seen a rising number of daily new COVID-19 cases following the city's decision to gradually relax restrictions and reopen businesses and offices under health protocols from June 4.

On Wednesday, the capital recorded 584 new confirmed cases, its highest one-day spike since the first confirmed cases were detected in the city in March.

The city’s previous daily highs include 467 new cases on Monday, 441 on July 21, 404 on July 12, 395 on July 11 and 344 on July 8.

As of Wednesday, Jakarta had recorded 19,885 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 795 fatalities and 12,373 recoveries.

Ahmad said the city administration still awaited reports on the latest positivity rate -- the number of people who test positive divided by the total number tested -- as well as the data on COVID-19's basic reproduction number (R0) and daily reproduction number (Rt) in Jakarta to determine future measures.

Jakarta’s weekly positivity rate had consistently been below 5 percent since the beginning of June, in line with one of the World Health Organization’s requirements for regions seeking to enter the so-called “new normal”.

However, the city's positivity rate has recently recorded a rise as the rate on Saturday was recorded at 7.1 percent and 9.6 percent on Sunday, with a weekly average of 5.7 percent last week.