Indonesia Puts Jakarta Back Under Lockdown, Citing Coronavirus ‘Emergency’

Women purchase turmeric juice, known for its benefits to boost the body's immune system, in Jakarta on March 18, 2020, as countries look to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP) (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images)
BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images

Officials in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, will place it on lockdown next week due to a recent spike in the city’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced on Wednesday his administration will reimpose large-scale social restrictions on the capital starting September 14.

“Considering the emergency situation in Jakarta, there are no other choices but to put the emergency brakes. This means that we have to implement the PSBB [large-scale social restrictions] as it was in the beginning of the pandemic. This is the emergency brake that we have to pull,” Anies said during a press briefing on Wednesday, CNN reported.

Under the restrictions, the government prohibits workplaces it considers “non-essential” from operating. The employees of these shuttered businesses are ordered to work from home. Public activities are also banned.

“People will be told to work, study, and pray from home,” Anies said, according to the Jakarta Post.

Indonesia is home to an estimated 225 million Muslims, the largest such population in the world. Normally, Muslims gather with their community in a local mosque for congregational prayer on Fridays. The new social distancing restrictions mean that Jakarta’s Muslims must now worship individually at home.

Anies said he decided to reimpose a lockdown of Jakarta, already under coronavirus quarantine this year, after studying the capital’s most recent coronavirus figures.

“In the past two weeks, mortality rates have spiked back up. In terms of percentage, they may still be considerably low, but in terms of the numbers, they have gone back up,” Anies said, according to CNN.

About “77 percent of 4,053 isolation beds” for Chinese coronavirus patients are currently occupied, the governor said, according to the Post. “If we don’t pull the brake, we will run out of isolation beds by September 17,” he added.

Jakarta is home to over ten million people. The city has confirmed a total of 49,837 coronavirus cases so far, which is nearly one-quarter of Indonesia’s 207,203 total cases. According to Indonesian health authorities on Wednesday, 1,347 people in Jakarta have died from the Chinese coronavirus.

“One death is too many. Whenever a person dies, there are families and friends being left. It’s the lives of our brothers and sisters that we must save,” Anies said, as quoted by the Post.

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