Health Ministry approves Jakarta’s request to enforce Large-Scale Social Restrictions policy

Shops in South Jakarta’s Pondok Indah Mall closed due to the government’s social distancing advisory in April 2020. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid/Coconuts Jakarta
Shops in South Jakarta’s Pondok Indah Mall closed due to the government’s social distancing advisory in April 2020. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid/Coconuts Jakarta

The Jakarta Provincial Government is set to enforce the central government’s Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) policy in the coming days following an overly bureaucratic process.

PSBB, which is designed to limit mobility within a region, essentially imposes the same social distancing measures parts of Indonesia affected by COVID-19 have seen since the outbreak began in earnest last month, with some additional measures and stricter enforcement.

Such measures include the shuttering of all businesses and services except for those that are deemed essential, and banning app-based motorcycle taxis from picking up passengers, meaning they are only allowed to transport goods and deliver food to customers.

Public transportation will continue to run, but with physical distancing measures put in place.

President Joko Widodo previously rejected imposing regional lockdowns or quarantines out of socioeconomic concerns and favored PSBB instead. The policy can only be enforced in a region with the approval of the Health Ministry following an assessment period. 

The Jakarta Provincial Government filed for the Health Ministry’s approval to enforce PSBB in the capital last Wednesday, with the latter reportedly only granting the request today with an expected enforcement date to be announced soon. Once enforced, PSBB will come into effect for 14 days and may be extended if the number of COVID-19 cases in the region rises.

Other than Jakarta, the West Java Provincial Government and the Bekasi City Administration have filed requests to enforce PSBB in their respective regions. The Health Ministry has yet to approve their requests.

Related — Opinion: Millennials right to be frustrated by Indonesia’s COVID-19 response

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