Indonesia Brings in Emergency Restrictions

Tightened coronavirus rules will be imposed across the hard-hit islands of Java and Bali from July 3–20.

A view of Jakarta’s Bung Karno Stadium and the SCBD precinct. (Photo: Dino Januarsa/Unsplash)

Indonesian authorities have released details on the Emergency Public Activity Restrictions (PPKM Darurat), a new policy that was announced yesterday as the country broke two of its pandemic records with 24,836 new Covid-19 cases and 504 deaths. Top officials had previously rejected tightening coronavirus rules despite soaring infection rates in recent weeks, hospitals running out of beds, and repeated calls from the medical profession to impose lockdown measures.

The new restrictions will be imposed on 122 cities and regencies across Java and Bali between July 3 and 20, though conditions are not nearly as strict as the hard lockdowns seen in other countries around the Asia-Pacific region. Workplaces of non-essential sectors must be closed with all employees ordered to work from home, while offices for essential sectors such as banking and financial services can run at 50 percent capacity with health protocols in place. Those in critical sectors, including energy, healthcare, and food and beverage, will be allowed to operate at 100 percent.

Malls and trade centers are being shut for the duration of the lockdown period, and dine-in services at restaurants, cafés, and other eateries will be banned for the time being. Supermarkets, grocery stores, and traditional markets will still be allowed to operate up until 8 p.m. at 50 percent capacity, while drugstores and pharmacies can remain open for 24 hours.

Schools in the affected areas must suspend all face-to-face teaching and places of worship will be closed. The government will also seal off public parks, tourist attractions, sports facilities, and other recreational places. Arts and cultural activities as well as sporting events will be prohibited. However, wedding receptions can go ahead as long as they are limited to just 30 people and organizers do not hold banquets on the premises.

Capacity on public transportation will be reduced to 70 percent, while anyone traveling domestically must have received at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. On top of a vaccination card, passengers taking flights must carry a negative PCR test result taken within two days of travel, while those opting for other modes of transportation will need to bring a negative result through an antigen test conducted one day before departure.

Through these emergency restrictions, Indonesia hopes to reduce the number of newly confirmed Covid-19 cases to under 10,000 per day and the weekly positive rate to below 10 percent, while ramping up daily testing numbers to more than 320,000 people in Java and Bali.

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