Indonesia making micro lockdowns as new measure to tackle Covid--19

JAKARTA, Feb 14 (Xinhua): Amid the soaring number of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia, the country's government has decided to take a new measure on micro lockdown in an effort to control the lingering pandemic.

President Joko Widodo has asked the regional administrations to implement a micro lockdown covering the scope of villages and smallest administrative units.

"Do not let the whole city be locked down if only one person get infected with the virus in a smallest administrative unit. Here is what we often get wrong," the president said at the opening of the sixth National Conference of the Association of Indonesian City Governments at the State Palace on Thursday.

The regional administrations have to work in detail on a micro scale, he said, adding that the micro lockdown would not damage economic growth and people's economic activities, as the measure is taken at the level of villages, sub-districts and the smallest administrative units.

According to the president, as the Covid-19 outbreak is not over yet, heads of regional administrations should work harder to find new ways to solve the problem and even take advantage of the crisis to achieve significant progress.

Among the regional governments that have been implementing the micro lockdown policy is Yogyakarta region on the main island of Java.

Yogyakarta implements the micro lockdown in two ways - one that is limited to certain fields including in the education sector, and the other carried out in villages, Kadarmanta Baskara Aji, secretary to the Yogyakarta administration, was quoted by as saying recently.

The region is now moving all the schooling activities online, Aji said.

The Yogyakarta administration continues to provide schools in remote areas with internet networks, he said, admitting that there are still 49 inaccessible areas in the region.

Meanwhile, Airlangga Hartarto, chairman of the Committee for Handling COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery, said the main goal of micro lockdown is to reduce positive cases and flatten the curve as the main prerequisite for a success in handling COVID-19.

In addition, the policy on the micro lockdown also aims to restore the national economy, Hartaro, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, told a virtual press conference.

The rules on the implementation of micro lockdown include efforts to increase the implementation of 3T (Testing, Tracing and Treatment). The testing is carried out by conducting free antigen swab tests to the people.

The government also provides basic necessities to people in the virus-prone areas and face masks to all people in villages.

Likewise, the government requires 50 percent of employees of an office to work from home, and allows schooling only online.

Companies in the essential sector dealing with public basic necessities are allowed to fully operate by applying health protocols.

The policy requires restaurants to limit the number of diners by 50 percent of their seat capacities and shopping centers to open until 9 p.m. local time, while take-away orders are allowed to run as usual.

A construction project is allowed to fully operate under more stringent health protocols, and a mosque is required to accommodate 50 percent of its capacity.

During the micro lockdown period, public facilities and socio-cultural activities are closed, while the capacity and operational hours of public transportation are limited.

Following the first detection of Covid-19 case in Indonesia on March 2, 2020, the government called on Indonesians to apply social distancing to contain the spread of the virus in the country.

Since then some policies have been made including those on the large-scale social restrictions, locally known as its acronym PSBB, and enforcement of restrictions on people's activities (PPKM).

The government has issued a policy on micro lockdown effective from Feb. 9 to 22, 2021, as the number of COovid-19 cases increased with the highest daily tally in Indonesia recorded at 14,224 on Jan. 16, 2021.

The Health Ministry said on Saturday that the Covid-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 8,844 within one day to 1,210,703, with the death toll adding by 280 to 32,936,

According to the ministry, 11,919 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 1,016,036. - Xinhua
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