What PPKM? Jakarta gridlocks raise questions about new restrictions on first work day

Traffic jams on the first Monday of tightened restrictions in Jakarta on July 5, 2021. Photos: Instagram
Traffic jams on the first Monday of tightened restrictions in Jakarta on July 5, 2021. Photos: Instagram

If one were to measure the effectiveness of tightened measures under the Emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM) by traffic density, one would likely come to the conclusion that it has failed miserably given the gridlocks on some of Jakarta’s major roads this morning.

On the first Monday of Emergency PPKM, images of traffic jams on the likes of West Jakarta’s Jalan Daan Mogot, South Jakarta’s Jalan Gatot Subroto, Central Jakarta’s Menteng and Jalan Kramat Raya have been doing the rounds on social media, depicting scenes that resembled any other Monday in the capital.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ7lgwoHSkt/

In theory, Jakarta’s streets should have been relatively empty like in the early days of the pandemic, especially as Emergency PPKM mandates a full Work From Home (WFH) policy for all workers in non-essential sectors.

Police have confirmed the gridlocks and said that they will deploy more officers for traffic control during Emergency PPKM. Meanwhile, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said during a meeting with the House of Representatives (DPR) today that the traffic jams epitomize Jakartans’ lack of compliance with health protocols.

“This is all happening because the mobility [of people] is out of control. So the surge [in cases] happened because it’s hard to convince people to be disciplined,” he said.

“We can’t get this pandemic under control if we’re not disciplined.”

Penalties under the Health Quarantine Law and the Criminal Code (KUHP) may await violators of Emergency PPKM, including offices that choose to stay open during the restrictions. It’s not yet clear how many violators there are on the first Monday of Emergency PPKM, but we suspect that a good number of them will be made public in the coming days.

Emergency PPKM was imposed from July 3 until at least July 20 as Indonesia struggles under the weight of a deadly second wave of COVID-19, which officials say were triggered by increased mobility and travel during the Eid holiday in mid-May and the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

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