The capital city of Indonesia last Friday (10 April) enforced large-scale social distancing, known as pembatasan sosial berskala besar (PSBB).
The 14-day PSBB measures aim to break the chain of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission across Jakarta. Neighbouring provinces West Java and Banten will be implementing similar measures tomorrow (15 April) and Sat (18 April) respectively.
Measures will include the closure of public places such as schools, sports centres, and offices except essential sectors such as healthcare, energy, media, transportation, and logistics.
Public transportation services are limited to carrying a maximum of 50 per cent of their normal capacity of passengers.
Mass social distancing measures such as those being implemented in Jakarta currently, however, might not take root in further provinces as seen in the Ministry of Health’s rejection of proposals by Palangkaraya — capital of the Central Kalimantan province — and West Papua’s Sorong and Fakfak.
The Ministry of Health’s Regulation No.9/2020 stipulates that one of the criteria for PSBB is the significant jump on the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 and COVID-19-related death cases as well as the epidemiological link shown in similar cases in other regions.
As of Monday (13 April), the West Papua province recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases with one fatality.
Jakarta recorded the highest numbers of COVID-19 infections in the country, with 2,186 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 204 deaths, and 142 cases in recovery, official data showed.
West Java came second with 540 confirmed cases, 22 cases in recovery and 52 deaths. This was followed by East Java with 440 confirmed cases, 73 cases in recovery and 30 deaths. Banten recorded 285 confirmed cases, 7 cases in recovery, and 22 deaths.
Which other provinces are considering PSBB?
South Sulawesi’s Makassar administration is considering submitting PSBB proposals to the central government, given the city’s significant numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
From 223 COVID-19 cases in the province, 155 were in Makassar, said the city’s acting mayor Iqbal Suhaeb on Tuesday (14 April).
“There are high numbers of local transmission cases on Makassar, meaning that it can be a requirement to impose PSBB,” Iqbal told a press conference.
South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah admitted he had yet to receive a PSBB proposal from the Makassar Administration, adding that the plan was being prepared.
West Sumatera provincial government has also requested a PSBB status for the province’s two main cities, Padang and Bukittinggi, due to the daily rise in the numbers of COVID-19 cases.
In Padang — the capital of West Sumatera — there are 30 COVID-19 cases and 10 cases in Bukittinggi, according to official data.
However, there are some COVID-19-free districts in the province, Head of Public Relations at the West Sumatera provincial government Jasman Rizal told Kompas. They are Sawahlunto, Agam, Sijunjung, South Solok, Solok City and Solok District.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Health stated — despite refusing to grant PSBB request for some regions — that it is important to preserve physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus.
Similar to Gorontalo, there is only one confirmed case of infection in Makassar.
As there has been no confirmed local transmission so far, no PSBB is needed, said Ahmad Yurianto, a government’s spokesperson for COVID-19 mitigation.
Wearing masks, staying at home, maintaining physical distancing, and washing hands with soap are what everyone must do to minimize the COVID-19 infection rates, regardless whether PSBB is implemented, he added.
As of today (14 April), the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 4,839, with 426 people in recovery and 459 fatalities. The virus has spread to all 34 provinces in the country.