JAKARTA, Indonesia 

Local authorities in the Indonesian capital Jakarta announced a return to quarantine measures starting Monday as the number of novel coronavirus cases continued a two-month rise.

While schools have remained closed since March, officials said that with the second introduction of large-scale social restrictions, known as PSBB, tourist attractions and entertainment venues were closed and mass gathering prohibited, while places of worship were only open to local residents.

Sambodo Purnomo Yogo, a police official, said there was no significant change in traffic on the first day of quarantine.

Yogo said that while more private vehicles were traveling on the capital’s main roads compared to last week, the number of train passengers had dropped by 19%.

Health facilities on brink

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Dicky Budiman, Indonesian epidemiologist from Griffith University in Australia, said Jakarta, which remains the country’s worst-hit region, is in dire need of the effective implementation of virus restrictions.

The metropolitan city currently has more than 12,000 active cases, with new infections increasing to 15% in the past week, while the fatality rate rose by 17% in September, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Active case numbers in Jakarta also climbed by 48% from late August to early September, the data said.

Meanwhile, the occupancy rate of health facilities for COVID-19 patients exceeded the recommended threshold and is now on the brink of collapse if no restrictions are placed.

At least 78% of beds in isolation rooms were full in the past week, along with 85% in ICUs across the city.

“These indicators are a very strong argument for re-imposition of the PSBB,” Budiman told Anadolu Agency.

Budiman suggested that quarantine measures be imposed for at least a month to give healthcare professional some respite.

At least 115 doctors have died of the coronavirus since the pandemic started in March, according to the Indonesian Doctors Association.

Halik Malik, the association spokesman, said hospitals were overwhelmed by the rising number of infections and fatalities among health workers.

“As a result, some doctors are exhausted from working overtime with a lack of protection,” he said.

The ratio of doctors per 1,000 people in Indonesia is 0.4, according to the World Health Organization — one of the lowest in Southeast Asia, while the global health body recommends 1 doctor per 600 people.

* Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta.

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