Indonesia’s capital began two weeks of social restrictions on Monday to try to thwart a surge in coronavirus infections that has pushed its critical-care hospital capacity to worryingly unsafe levels, reports AP.
But business owners were confused, and workers said supporting the healthcare system, strained by Covid-19 patients, should be the priority.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced the tough new restrictions will end on Sept 27.
All social, economic, religious, cultural and academic activities will be restricted.
Essential sectors, including food, construction and banking, are allowed to operate at 50% of normal staffing levels.
Schools, parks, recreation sites and wedding reception venues must close entirely.
Restaurants and cafes are limited to takeaway and delivery service. Shopping centres must limit their hours and the number of visitors.
The only religious places permitted to open are in residential areas.
Jakarta previously imposed large-scale social restrictions from April to June, then eased them gradually with businesses reopening and using milder health protocols.
But the virus has spread significantly since then, and medical facilities are filling with sick patients. Of 67 Covid-19 referral hospitals in Jakarta, seven are 100% occupied, while 46 are more than 60% occupied.
Baswedan said last week the hospital capacity for isolation and intensive-care rooms had exceeded the safe limit.
It is estimated maximum capacity will be reached late this week, after which Jakarta health facilities will be in real danger of collapse.
While residents are hoping the restrictions will slow the spread of the virus, they are also worrying about the financial impact on their lives.
Sumaidi, 50, who runs a printing business and photo studio in Jakarta, says the city needs social restrictions but he’s confused whether to open his business or close it.
Sigit Ardianto, 31, an employee of a public company in Jakarta, said that besides imposing restrictions and sanctioning those who violate them, the government should fix medical facilities, providing more rooms and better service.
He added that, “The reason we have such high case numbers is because of our poor health facility issues.”
As Jakarta hospitals hover on the brink of breakdown, no-one is arguing with him over that.
Indonesia’s virus task force reported more than 54,000 of the nation’s 218,000 cases of Covid-19 are in Jakarta.
The city has recorded 1,391 deaths of the nation’s toll of 8,723.
Task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said Jakarta has had the most transmissions in the nation over the last five weeks.