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Jakarta Post

Jakarta extends transitional PSBB to prevent spike in cases during holidays

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, December 21, 2020   /   08:58 pm
Jakarta extends transitional PSBB to prevent spike in cases during holidays 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)

The Jakarta administration has extended the transitional period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for another two weeks until Jan. 3 as it hopes to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases during the year-end holidays.

Jakarta has recorded a significant increase in new confirmed cases in the past four weeks, with experts suspecting they came as a result of a long weekend in late October.

“We noted that a significant rise in confirmed cases started to occur in mid-November,” Jakarta Health Agency head Widyastuti said in a statement on Sunday.

On Saturday, a day before the extension was announced, Jakarta recorded its highest number of new cases with 1,899. On Sunday, the city recorded another daily high of 1,592 cases, bringing the total tally of confirmed cases to 163,111 since the first cases were reported in March.

Jakarta also saw an increase in bed occupancy rates in the city’s 98 referral hospitals in the past month.

“The isolation bed occupancy rate stood at 85 percent, or about 5,691 out of 6,663 total beds were occupied. The ICU [intensive care unit] bed occupancy rate was at 80 percent, with 772 out of 907 intensive care beds occupied,” Widyastuti said.

She said the Jakarta administration was seeking to add more isolation beds to bring the total to 7,171, as well as more intensive care beds for a total of 1,020.

The positivity rate in Jakarta also remained high, reaching over 9 percent in the past three months, according to the Jakarta Health Agency. This is higher than the ideal rate of below 5 percent as recommended by the World Health Organization.

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"Based on the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s [BNPB] indicators, the risk of coronavirus transmission in Jakarta has increased from medium to high due to the [high] positivity rate and bed occupancy rate,” Widyastuti said.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said authorities would focus on restricting movement during the latest extension of transitional PSBB, especially ahead of the year-end holiday season.

“We will monitor and control people’s mobility to curb transmission from people entering or exiting Jakarta. It is very important for us to stay at home and not to travel out of town," Anies said.

Infection clusters emerging from workplaces and households remained the main source of COVID-19 transmission in Jakarta, Anies said.

From Dec. 7 and 13, the city reported 3,821 cases linked to household clusters and 313 cases believed to originate from infection clusters in the workplace.

“The mobility of people during the holiday season would affect the number of new cases," Anies said.

Anies issued a gubernatorial instruction and a decree on Dec. 16 ordering his subordinates to implement stricter restrictions over the year-end holidays.

The two documents regulate daily activities during the holidays, from business-related and religious activities to travel in the city and to and from Jakarta.

The regulations stipulate operational hours for cafes, restaurants, entertainment venues, tourist attractions and shopping malls during the Christmas and New Year holidays. They also ban gatherings of more than five people in public places and require people traveling to the capital to present negative antigen rapid test results. (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.