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07 May 2020 | 07:48 AM UTC

Indonesia: Government postpones regional elections amid COVID-19 pandemic /update 21

Indonesia News Alert

Indonesian government postpones regional elections amid COVID-19 pandemic May 4; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/7/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/1/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Jakarta). COUNTRY/REGION Indonesia

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Event

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Monday, May 4, that regional elections will be postponed from Wednesday, September 23, to Wednesday, December 9, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

East Java authorities previously announced that Surabaya and the neighboring regencies of Sidoarjo and Gresik will undergo a two-week partial lockdown until Monday, May 11, to curb the spread of the virus.

The Indonesian Transport Ministry's ban on air travel remains in effect until Monday, June 1, and all sea travel continues to be suspended until Monday, June 8. Cargo transport, repatriation flights, and travel by diplomatic staff, representatives of international organizations, and state officials are exempt from the ban.

The Indonesian government has extended Jakarta's large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) until Friday, May 22. The measures include the closure of all educational institutions, except for training and research related to health services. All workplaces remain closed, and authorities have advised employees to work from home. The restrictions do not apply to workers in eight essential sectors including health, food, energy, and finance. Religious activities must be conducted at home with only immediate family members, instead of at places of worship. Nonessential businesses such as bars, spas, and cinemas remain closed, and public transportation limited. Gatherings of more than five people are also prohibited. Social and cultural events, including weddings, have been banned. Police patrols will also be increased to ensure compliance with the restrictions. Several of Jakarta's satellite municipalities, regencies, and other population centers including Bekasi, Bogor, Depok, Pekanbaru, and Tangerang have implemented similar measures.

A ban on the Idul Fitri mudik (mass exodus) has been in effect for COVID-19 red zones, including Greater Jakarta, since Friday, April 24. Penalties for violators of the mudik ban will be enforced from Thursday, May 7. Under the ban, travel in and out of areas affected by COVID-19 will be prohibited. Public transportation across Greater Jakarta will continue to operate for workers in essential services. Authorities have also deployed security forces to enforce the ban from the first day of Ramadan until seven days after Idul Fitri.

On Tuesday, April 14, President Joko Widodo declared the COVID-19 pandemic a non-natural national disaster. The decree gives increased powers to the national COVID-19 Task Force and requires provinces, regencies, and municipalities to follow the central government's policies in responding to the pandemic. Wearing face masks in public is mandatory. Public buses, trains, aircraft, ships, and private cars are only permitted to fill half of their passenger seats, while motorcycles can only be ridden by one person. Other previously announced measures remain in place, including the prohibition of all entry and transit by foreign nationals into or through Indonesia. However, foreigners with a limited stay permit card (Kitas), permanent stay permit card (Kitap), or other similar permits will still be allowed to enter the country.

As of Thursday, May 7 health authorities have confirmed 12,438 COVID-19 cases across Indonesia, including 895 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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