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Jakarta Post

Satellite cities undecided about following Jakarta with strict virus curbs

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, September 11, 2020   /   03:08 pm
Satellite cities undecided about following Jakarta with strict virus curbs Traffic is congested on the Cawang-Grogol toll road in South Jakarta on June 5. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

Leaders of Jakarta's satellite cities are still undecided on whether they should follow the capital city in reimposing stricter COVID-19 restrictions that will take effect on Monday.

During a virtual meeting with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and other regional leaders, Bekasi Deputy Mayor Tri Adhianto said his administration would announce its decision on the matter on Monday.

"We'll decide on Monday after a meeting with relevant agencies. [In the meantime], we'll continue to monitor the [COVID-19 outbreak] in the city," Tri said on Thursday.

He acknowledged that Bekasi had seen an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks that had put a strain on the city's healthcare system.

"We only have 180 [hospital] beds left, but we've prepared 55 additional beds in the Chandrabaga Stadium," Tri said as quoted by kompas.com, "If we continue to see 40 new cases a day, in the next week we'll have 280 more patients, our hospitals could only accommodate 180."

Meanwhile, Bogor Mayor Bima Arya Sugianto said the city would continue to enforce the current micro and community-based social restrictions (PSBMK) for the next three days while awaiting coordination among the Jakarta administration and the central government about the upcoming large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in the capital.

"As of now, we are not able to decide whether to impose stricter PSBB. We'll discuss this with the Regional Leadership Communication Forum [Forkopimda] on Monday," Bima said after Thursday's meeting.

Read also: Jakarta lockdown aimed at preventing collapse of healthcare system

"Governor [Anies] said he still needed to work out more detailed and clearer measures for the PSBB policy with the central government, so we'll wait for that," he added.

Anies announced on Wednesday that Jakarta would reimpose the full PSBB measures starting Monday after months of a gradual relaxation of curbs since early June that has been blamed for the city's soaring COVID-19 case number in the past few weeks.

Under the reinstated PSBB -- which Anies dubbed the "emergency brake" -- Jakarta allows only 11 essential sectors to operate, while other businesses and offices will have to reimplement work-from-home policies. Public activities are generally banned.

The isolation and intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy rates at the capital city reached 77 percent and 83 percent, respectively, on Wednesday. The city currently has 4,053 beds in isolation rooms and 528 beds in ICU rooms.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Jakarta reached 51,287 as of Friday, with 11,696 active cases and 1,365 fatalities.

Health and transportation experts, however, have noted that reimposing the PSBB in Jakarta would be pointless unless such restrictions were properly implemented also in other areas, given that mobility across regions remains high.

According to official estimates, 200,000 Bogor residents travel to and from Jakarta daily using commuter lines. Meanwhile, more than 20,000 vehicles from Bogor pass through the Jagorawi toll road to go to the capital and home again every day. 

Around 700,000 residents of Tangerang municipality also commute to and from Jakarta every day,

Meanwhile, South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmi Diany said the city would not follow in Jakarta's footsteps for the time being.

Read also: What you need to know about large-scale social restrictions in Jakarta

"We have no plan for imposing stricter PSBB so far. We're still following the Banten gubernatorial regulation on the Greater Tangerang PSBB [policy]," Airin said.

She also claimed that the COVID-19 case number in Tangerang was still under control and that the city's health facilities could still accommodate patients.

"We previously had a plan to impose stricter measures as bed occupancy rates kept increasing and [hospitals] were overloaded. We had discussed whether it was necessary to set up a curfew, but the case number declined a few days later," she said.

Similarly, Depok COVID-19 task force spokesperson Dadang Wihana said the city would still follow the West Java gubernatorial regulation on proportional PSBB and Depok mayoral regulation until Sept. 29.

"We'll impose policies in accordance with Depok Mayoral Regulation No 59/2020 by restricting residential and business activities," Dadang said.

The city has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 patients in West Java with 2,613 confirmed cases and 723 active cases.  

Dadang went on to say that the Depok administration would await the result of further coordination between Anies and the central government on the mechanism of the full PSBB. "We'll wait and see," he said. (nal)