Indonesia Expands Social Restrictions in Java, Bali

New rules are set to take effect on January 11 and remain in force until at least the 25th.

Light traffic on Jakarta’s Jalan Sudirman. (Photo: Sopan Sopian/Pixabay)

Starting next Monday, more than 65 million people on the islands of Java and Bali—or about a quarter of Indonesia’s population—will be covered by stricter large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) set to last two weeks or more. It comes as a response to the rising number of active coronavirus infections since November and an expected surge after the Christmas and New Year holidays. Airlangga Hartarto, the chairman of the national Covid-19 task force, announced the new measures yesterday as Indonesia logged 8,854 cases, a record high of daily new infections since the start of the pandemic.

Under the updated restrictions, workplaces in non-essential sectors can only host up to 25 percent of employees at any one time. Schools and universities are to remain shut with students carrying on remote learning. Shopping centers must close at 7 p.m., and while dine-in services at eateries are still allowed, the number of patrons will be limited to 25 percent of the usual seating capacity. Places of worship can still operate at half-capacity and with health protocols in place; other public facilities will be temporarily closed and socio-cultural activities suspended.

The PSBB is being introduced in regions where the bed occupancy rates in both isolation wards and ICUs at local hospitals are above 70 percent. Affected areas include the entirety of Jakarta and its satellite cities, namely Bekasi, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and South Tangerang. The regencies of Bogor, Bekasi, and Tangerang will also be subject to the same restrictions, along with the West Java capital of Bandung, Cimahi city, and West Bandung regency.

In Central Java, which currently has the highest number of active cases of any Indonesian province, the restrictions will apply in the metropolitan area of Semarang (specifically Semarang city and regency, as well as Kendal and Demak) and Solo, with restrictions for the latter extending to the adjacent regencies of Boyolali, Klaten, and Sukoharjo. Four other regencies in Central Java—Banjarnegara, Banyumas, Cilacap, and Purbalingga—have been singled out as well.

East Java’s two largest urban areas, greater Surabaya and greater Malang, are also covered by the new PSBB. Over in Bali, these rules will be enforced in the provincial capital Denpasar and Badung regency, which includes popular beach and resort areas such as Canggu, Seminyak, Legian, Kuta, and Jimbaran.

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