In a bid to further curb the spread of COVID-19 in Jakarta, city governor Anies Baswedan on Wednesday (22 April) announced the extension of its large-scale social distancing measures (PSBB) to 22 May.
Anies said that he has consulted infectious disease experts and the Indonesian capital city’s Health Office before making the decision.
The Jakarta administration had earlier set the first period of the PSBB from 10 April to 23 April.
The former education minister hoped that Jakarta residents will be disciplined in maintaining physical and social distancing to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections in the city.
Despite the PSBB measures that restrict the mobility of the city’s denizens, Jakarta’s COVID-19 cases have increased from 15 April to 16 April, as officials confirmed that the number of COVID-19 cases has jumped from 2,447 to 2,670.
As of yesterday (22 April) Jakarta recorded 3,506 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 316 deaths and 292 cases in recovery.
The second phase of PSBB must be followed by stricter sanctions
Experts and lawmakers hoped the second round of social distancing will be followed by stricter sanctions as stipulated in the Governor’s Regulations No.33/2020 on PSBB.
Under the regulations, those found not wearing face masks outside of their homes must pay a Rp 50,000 fine (S$4.59).
Restaurants that are still open for dine-in may be fined Rp 200,000 (S$18.34), as restaurants are only allowed to provide delivery services during the PSBB period.
Syahrizal Syarif, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia, told Kompas on Wednesday (22 April) that it may take two months of the PSBB to curb the virus’ spread.
“PSBB needs an extension until there is an indication that the number of cases in the capital has declined. Maybe it can take two months,” the expert added.
The PSBB measure orders the shutdown of public places and offices, except for essential sectors such as healthcare, energy, food supplies, media, logistics, and banking.
Workplaces of businesses in sectors other than those permitted to run during social distancing measures will be forcefully be closed.
The Jakarta administration found on 15 April that the workplaces of 200 companies were still open amid the PSBB, even though their business sectors do not belong to the 11 categories allowed in the regulation.
“There are around 200 companies not included in the allowed sectors, but they get permits from the Ministry of Industry. Most are big companies with thousands of employees,” said Andri Yansyah, Head of The Jakarta Manpower, Transmigration and Energy Agency.
Neighbouring Singapore, Malaysia similarly extend social distancing measures
Singapore has also decided to extend its circuit breaker until 1 June following the surge in the numbers of new COVID-19 cases from crowded migrant workers’ dorms.
In a televised address on Tue (21 April), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that while the majority of Singaporeans and residents have been complying with the measures, the total number of cases have “risen sharply” since the onset of the outbreak in Singapore.
Despite the spike in cases from the migrant worker dormitories’ clusters, Mr Lee said that the clusters “have not spread to the wider community”.
COVID-19 tests on migrant workers residing in dormitories have been conducted aggressively not only for those who are visibly symptomatic, but also for those who appear well and asymptomatic, said Mr Lee.
“Almost all the migrant workers infected have only mild symptoms. This is not surprising as they are generally young, and thus much less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19,” he added.
“It is early days yet, but thankfully, so far none of the new cases of migrant workers has needed supplemental oxygen, or intensive care,” Mr Lee added.
As of 20 April, 76 per cent of new cases were from migrant workers’ dorms.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the city-state has reached 10,141 as of 12 pm today with 12 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health’s preliminary confirmation.
Earlier, Malaysia prolonged its Movement Control Order (MCO) until 28 April after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the measure on 18 March.
Explaining why the order was extended further, he said in a televised address on 10 April that the extra time will give medical personnel dealing with COVID-19 more room to manage conditions pertaining to the virus more effectively, in addition to preventing the reignition of an outbreak across the country.
Mr Muhyiddin added that the people should brace themselves for possible further extensions of the MCO should conditions necessitate them.
Similar to government-mandated safe distancing measures elsewhere, only essential sectors such as food supplies, energy, certain banking services, and telecommunications are allowed to operate during Singapore’s circuit breaker and Malaysia’s MCO. The restrictions also entail a ban on public gatherings.
In Singapore, those found guilty of flouting the relevant Government measures can be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed up to six months. Subsequent offences may carry a fine of up to S$20,000, up to 12 months’ jail, or both.
Permanent residents and holders of work passes may also have their status revoked if found guilty of breaching the circuit breaker measures.
In Malaysia, those found guilty of flouting MCO measures may be subject to a RM1,000 (S$326.54) fine.
As of today afternoon, Malaysia’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached a toll of 5,532.