Jakarta mulls weekend lockdowns as partial restrictions fail

Central Jakarta commercial and business hub. <em>Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media</em>
Central Jakarta commercial and business hub. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media

Jakarta may take the unprecedented step of imposing full lockdowns every weekend, the province’s vice governor said, as current restrictions have done little to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the capital.

Speaking to the press yesterday, Vice Governor Ahmad “Ariza” Riza Patria said the provincial government will soon discuss the possibility of imposing the policy, which was suggested to the central government by House of Representatives (DPR) member Saleh Daulay. The lawmaker previously cited Turkey’s decision to impose a weekend lockdown policy in December amid record deaths.

“The fact of the matter is, on Saturdays and Sundays, many Jakarta citizens conduct activities outside as offices are closed. Not only do they go to the market, but they also go to the mall, recreation spots, visit family, or go out of town,” Ariza said.

Ariza added that the provincial government is always open to receive suggestions to curb the outbreak from the central government, but stressed that the policy has yet to be thoroughly discussed.

Jakarta, with 276,694 cases as of Feb. 2, has the highest provincial caseload in all of Indonesia. From those cases, 248,515 have recovered, 4,379 have died, while 23,800 are still in treatment. Hospitals designated for COVID-19 treatment have been inundated with patients in recent months.

Jakarta last year imposed the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) policy, which partially restricted public activities in the workplace, schools, and houses of worship, among others. PSBB was this year replaced by the central government’s Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM), which essentially contains the same restrictions.

President Joko Widodo this week conceded that PPKM isn’t working due to its relaxed enforcement.

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