Indonesia imposes restrictions in Jakarta, Bali due to Covid-19 rebound
Jakarta, Feb 8 (EFE).- Indonesian authorities announced Tuesday the imposition of new restrictions in Jakarta and on the island of Bali due to the rebound in Covid-19 infections, just days after the island opened to international tourism.
Luhut Pandjaitan, the pandemic management minister, said Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Bali would raise the alert level to three (of a maximum of four) during the next week, told media.
Sixty percent of Indonesia’s 270 million inhabitants live in Java and Bali.
According to this alert level, restaurants, bars and shopping centers must operate at a maximum of 60 percent of their capacity; meanwhile, entertainment centers and playgrounds should be reduced to 35 percent and temples to 50 percent.
The measures also include a curfew from midnight to 4 a.m.
“Frankly, we don’t want people to be scared or the economy to be affected, maybe the problem is not that serious. We are following the situation closely, if things go well, maybe we will lift the restrictions (from) next week,” Luhut added Monday at a virtual press conference.
Infections have doubled in the last week in Indonesia: according to the health ministry, there were 26,121 infections throughout the country Monday (almost half of those in Jakarta), while a week earlier there were 10,185.
Hospitalizations have increased accordingly; with about 10,147 beds for Covid-19 patients Monday in Jakarta, up from 7,600 beds.
Despite the increase, authorities said the situation is under control and 60 percent of cases in this wave, linked to the omicron variant, are moderate and mild.
Restrictions and the rebound in infections, however, represent a setback for the opening plans of the tourist resort Bali, which on Thursday received the first international flight in two years.
Indonesia was hit hard by the delta variant in the middle of last year, when a peak of 50,000 daily infections were recorded countrywide.
The country has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, with 4.5 million cases and more than 145,000 deaths, while less than 50 percent of its population has been vaccinated. EFE