JAKARTA, Indonesia

The Indonesian government announced Thursday to enact transitional large-scale social distancing restriction on Java and Bali islands from Jan. 11 to Jan. 25 to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases. 

Head of the COVID-19 Task Force Doni Monardo said in a news conference in Jakarta that the measures are needed to suppress the recent spike in infections after the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Indonesia reported 9,321 new cases on Thursday, the highest since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly 800,000 cases have been registered in the country, with over 114,000 of them currently active.

“In September, we were able to curb the cases from 67,000 to 54,000, which was roughly 20%,” said Monardo, hoping to repeat the same on the two islands.

The affected regions include Jakarta and its satellite cities in West Java and Banten such as Bogor, Depok, Bekasi, and Tangerang, also Bandung in West Java, Semarang and Solo in Central Java, along with Surabaya and Malang in East Java, Denpasar in Bali, and Yogyakarta.

Amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, many hospitals in Java and Bali are facing critical shortages of beds in intensive care units.

“Some hospitals are running out of beds, so they can no longer accommodate COVID-19 patients,” he added.

The situation is worsening as more health care workers have contracted the virus and died. Monardo pointed out that so far more than 500 health workers have died in the battle against the COVID-19.

During the restriction period, all academic activities must be carried out using online methods.

Moreover, workplaces must enforce “work from home policy.” Only a limit of 25% of workers are allowed to work in workplaces.

“Shopping centers are only allowed to open until 7 p.m. Restaurants are only allowed serving dine-ins up to 25% of their capacity. Places of worship should limit attendance to no more than 50% of their maximum capacity,” Airlangga Hartarto, the chairperson of the Working Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery explained during the news conference.

However, essential sectors, including logistics and constructions, are allowed to operate with strict health protocols.

“Please adhere to health protocols and avoid traveling unless for essential purposes,” Hartarto added.  

*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta.

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