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Jakarta Post

More people in Indonesia go out amid pandemic: Apple, Google studies

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 22, 2020   /   07:33 pm
More people in Indonesia go out amid pandemic: Apple, Google studies Medical workers take swab samples for rapid antigen tests from passengers departing from the Pasar Senen railway station in Central Jakarta on Monday. State railway operator PT Kereta Api is requiring passengers to have negative results from antigen or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to travel between Tuesday and Jan. 8, 2021. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Despite a constant rise of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, two new studies by Google and Apple have revealed an increase in the number of people in Indonesia going out of their houses.

Google did the study nationwide, while Apple focused on Jakarta, reported on Tuesday.

The studies, which were conducted earlier this month, showed that several general stores selling food ingredients saw a 3 percent increase in visitors as compared to the baseline, or daily visitor numbers before the pandemic. In April, the figure had decreased by 24 percent under the baseline. 

Other categories such as retail stores, recreational places, public transportation centers and office areas also experienced a slight increase in crowd level, although the number remained under the baseline.

In residential areas nationwide, Google recorded that the crowd level was 11 percent below the baseline in December, from 17 percent below in April. The multinational technology and internet company set its baseline based on average data of the same topic recorded from January to February.

In Jakarta’s residential areas, the crowd level was 13 percent under the baseline from 22 percent in April. This means more Jakartans spent time outside of their houses in December than when the first large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) were implemented.

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

Similarly, Apple recorded a decline in the number of pedestrians and drivers in the Greater Jakarta area at the early stage of the pandemic in April. However, as the city entered its transitional phase in July, the number immediately increased and remained stable until December, although the capital saw a decline from September to October. 

Apple discovered that the number of pedestrians had increased 54 percent from the baseline, which they set based on data taken from Jan. 13, while driving activities had increased 21 percent.

Google collected the data for this study from anonymous users who turned on the “Location History” feature on their Android mobile phones. 

The company claimed they did not take any personal information in the process, since the data collection method is similar to Google’s other applications, such as Google Maps. Furthermore, users have to turn on the feature before Google can collect the data. 

A similar method was used by Apple. The company stated that their map feature was unable to reveal demographic information of its users.

The Health Ministry announced 6,347 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday bringing the total number of confirmed infections nationwide to 678,125. 

According to the same data, 172 more people have died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 20,257. The total number of recovered patients has also increased to 552,722. (dpk)


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.