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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 task force calls for workplaces to implement WFH as office clusters spike

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 29, 2020   /   06:07 pm
COVID-19 task force calls for workplaces to implement WFH as office clusters spike Art that teaches: Children ride their bikes past a mural that promotes a variety of messages, such as health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and respecting one’s elders, in Kalipasir, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

The COVID-19 task force has called on workplaces to implement work-from-home (WFH) policies, following reports of increasing numbers of coronavirus clusters in offices.

An epidemiologist in the COVID-19 task force’s team of experts, Dewi Nur Aisyah, said workplaces should implement a full or partial WFH policy to prevent further infections among workers.

“If we look at the current condition, all workplaces that are able to apply a WFH policy should start doing so,” Dewi said during a webinar on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

“Even if workers must come in for work, the capacity must be limited to only 50 percent, so it is easy to maintain distance,” she continued.

Another strategy workplaces could implement, Dewi said, was to divide workers into different work shifts to prevent crowding during office hours.

Read also: COVID-19 clusters rise in govt offices due to lack of awareness: Minister

The provision requiring workplaces to limit staff numbers to 50 percent of office capacity is already stipulated in Gubernatorial Regulation No. 51/2020 on the  “transitional” period to the new normal.

The regulation also requires businesses to develop systems to regulate the distribution of working days, working hours and work shifts.

Concerns have mounted over increasing numbers of COVID-19 clusters in office spaces after Jakarta began to relax its large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in early June.

As of Tuesday, Dewi reported, 90 office clusters had been recorded. 

To date, 459 cases have been recorded within office clusters, a dramatic increase from 43 recorded before the transitional PSBB period, she added.

Read also: Office infection clusters spike as economy reopens

Dewi said these figures indicated more stringent health protocols were needed both at workplaces and while workers were commuting.

Clusters have been recorded not only at offices of private and state-owned companies, but also of government institutions, including ministries, regional agencies and the police, she said.

Some offices across Java have reportedly been closed for weeks after infections were found among workers.

Under the current gubernatorial regulation, offices must be closed temporarily and disinfected after COVID-19 cases are recorded.

East Jakarta Environment Agency head Hermansyah said his office would remain closed for six days starting Wednesday after a number of employees contracted COVID-19.

“Five civil servants and five PJLPs [individual service providers] have tested positive. They are self-quarantining at home,” Hermansyah said. (syk)