Covid-19 Curbs To Be Loosed In Virus-Affected Indonesia
Virus-wracked Despite worries that relaxing restraints might cause another deadly Covid-19 wave, Indonesia said Sunday that small companies and some shopping malls could reopen, even as it attempted to extend a web of restrictions put in place earlier this month.
As the highly infectious Delta variety ravages across the Southeast Asian archipelago, which has been overtaking battered India and Brazil as the world’s viral epicentre, President Joko Widodo announced measures implemented in early July will be extended until August 2.
However, he noted that “adjustments” would be made to the lockdown, which shut down shops, restaurants, parks, and workplaces across the country, including in Jakarta, Java, and the tourist island of Bali.
Even in the worst-affected districts, traditional markets, roadside sellers, and ubiquitous open-air restaurants known as warungs will be among the businesses allowed to reopen Monday with limits.
Malls and mosques in less-affected areas of the Muslim-majority country will also be allowed to open their doors to limited audiences and hours.
The government stated that shutdown orders will continue to apply to offices.
Despite the present lockdown, there have been numerous allegations of firms pushing non-essential personnel to work.
Widodo said any easing would be done “gradually and carefully,” citing lower daily infection and hospital occupancy rates.
Official case rates have decreased from over 50,000 per day. However, while testing rates have decreased, the number of positive results has remained high, indicating that the virus is still spreading rapidly.
The announcement came after Indonesia’s death toll reached a new high of 1,566 in just 24 hours on Friday.
Indonesia has been urged by the World Health Organization to tighten viral controls.
Widodo’s administration has been chastised for its handling of the outbreak and measures that appeared to put Southeast Asia’s largest economy ahead of public health.
“The government is in a pickle because it has seen countries prioritize economic growth at the expense of public health, while others prioritize public health at the expense of economic growth,” said Arya Fernandes, a political analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
“So they’re attempting to create a win-win solution by implementing limits while maintaining the economy’s openness.”
Indonesia’s vaccination rates are still much behind the government’s one-million-per-day target for July, with only approximately 6% of the country’s almost 270 million people fully immunized.
Before Sunday’s announcement, Dicky Budiman, an Indonesia epidemiologist at Australia’s Griffith University, warned AFP that lifting restrictions would result in more illnesses and deaths.
“There must be restrictions in place for a. Brief News from Washington Newsday.