Covid-19: Batam wants restrictions like Jakarta - but for three months


A mall near Harbor Bay International Ferry Port in Batam, Riau Islands, is quiet on March 7 as travellers and locals alike avoid public places amid the Covid-19 outbreak. - JP

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): The administration of Batam, Riau Islands, has expressed its intention to implement large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) similar to those in force in Jakarta to flatten the curve of Covid-19 transmission. But unlike Jakarta, Batam is looking to keep the measures in place for three months.

Batam Mayor Muhammad Rudi said he had submitted a proposal for such a policy to Riau Islands acting governor Isdianto on Wednesday (April 8).

"Hopefully, the governor will soon submit the request to the health minister," Rudi said on Thursday.

According to Government Regulation No. 21 on PSBB, provinces and cities are required to obtain a permit from the Health Ministry to impose the policy.

“There’s only one way to stop the disease from spreading: by suspending all activities in the city. It’s our job to assure that the basic needs of every resident are fulfilled, ” the mayor went on to say.

The mayor added that authorities would distribute staple food packages comprising of rice, sugar and cooking oil to around 429,000 households during the PSBB.

The Riau Islands administration would provide the social aid in the first month of the PSBB period, while the Batam administration and Batam Indonesia Free Trade Zone Authority (BP Batam) would provide social assistance for the second and third month, respectively.

The Batam Industrial Estate Association (HKI) claimed it had yet to be informed of the city’s plan. However, the association’s deputy chairman, Tjaw Hoieng, said the policy would not affect industrial operations.

Batam Council Speaker Nuryanto expressed support for the mayor's initiative to curb the Covid-19 outbreak in the region.

"We support whatever decision the mayor makes. We're also ready if the city needs to [alter] the 2020 budget for its Covid-19 response," said Nuryanto. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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