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Jakarta Post

Jakarta imposes stricter restrictions ahead of year-end holidays to prevent spike in COVID-19 cases

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 17, 2020   /   03:01 pm
Jakarta imposes stricter restrictions ahead of year-end holidays to prevent spike in COVID-19 cases Festive season: Customers shop for Christmas decorations at a store at Asemka Market, West Jakarta, on Sunday. Vendors reported that their sales had dropped 50 percent this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has issued a gubernatorial instruction and decree ordering his subordinates to implement stricter restrictions over the year-end holidays to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the nation’s capital.

The orders were extra measures deemed necessary to limit public mobility and prevent a spike in new COVID-19 cases after the holiday season.

"Jakarta has seen a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases, especially in family clusters following long holidays in October and November. We need to take extra measures [...] as we would face the real holiday season at the end of this year," Anies said in a statement on Thursday.

Jakarta has seen a 13.4 increase in coronavirus transmissions since a five-day extended holiday in late October, with hundreds of new family clusters emerging in the city.

Anies said earlier this month that authorities had found 410 family clusters with 4,052 cases from Nov. 23 to 29, bringing the total number to 5,662 clusters with 53,163 cases.

To discourage the public from travelling, the central government had cut the number of collective leave days for Christmas and New Year celebrations, including a substitute leave day to make up for the shortened Idul Fitri break.

Under the new arrangement, people will get a total of eight days off instead of eleven, namely from Dec. 24 to 27 for Christmas, Dec. 31 to substitute for canceled Idul Fitri leave, then from Jan. 1 to 3, 2021 to mark the new year. 

Read also: Government to ban New Year's celebrations in public spaces

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan had also specifically instructed Anies to impose stricter regulations in Jakarta during the year-end holidays, including to ban New Year's Eve celebration in public places.

"Wedding receptions and other crowd-pulling religious events should also be banned and moved online," Luhut said on Monday in a meeting with the governors of Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java and Bali.

Anies said the instruction and decree he signed on Wednesday regulated various aspects, ranging from business and religious activities to public mobility in and out of Jakarta.

"Our main focus in the regulations is limiting social and family activities, especially on Dec. 24 to 27 and from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2  when people are very likely to go outside. We want them to remain at home [during those periods]," the governor said.

The regulations stipulated limited operational hours for cafes, restaurants, entertainment venues, tourist attractions and shopping malls on Dec. 24 to 27 and Dec. 31 to Jan. 3. On those specific dates, the aforementioned venues are only allowed to operate until 7 p.m. and must limit their visitor capacity to 50 percent.

The regulations also ban the gathering of more than five people in public places and requires people traveling to the capital city to bring negative antigen rapid test results.

Anies also asked all state institutions under the Jakarta administration to implement a WFH policy for 50 percent of its workers and to ban their employees from traveling out-of-town during the holiday season. (nal)

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.