WORLD Indonesia quashes easing partial lockdowns as COVID-19 cases leap again

WORLD

Indonesia quashes easing partial lockdowns as COVID-19 cases leap again

Xinhua

19:40, May 18, 2020

JAKARTA, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo Monday quashed an immediate easing of large-scale social restrictions as the number of COVID-19 infections has soared again.

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An Indonesian health officer checks the temperature of a visitor wearing a face mask at Sabang island port, a popular destination for local and foreign tourists, in Banda Aceh on March 12, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

The president ordered authorities to beef up surveillance on the travel ban ahead of the Islamic festivity Eid-al-Fitr.

The move came after the number of daily cases jumped again to the level of 400 to 500 in recent days, suggesting that the transmission of the disease remained fast in the country.

On Monday, the Health Ministry announced 496 new COVID-19 confirmed cases, bringing the total to 18,010 with 1,191 fatalities.

"I want to emphasize that there is no relaxation policy so far," the president told a limited cabinet meeting at the State Palace here.

The president stressed that the government would rely much on updated data to gauge the extent of the impacts of the pandemic, adding that the relaxation scenarios have been rolled out, but no precise time is set so far.

The focus now, he said, is on the implementation of the restrictions of people's movement to avert the tradition of the exodus to hometowns or villages for celebrating Eid-al-Fitr.

"This week or next week and the next two weeks, the government will still focus on the travel ban," he said, adding the transports of essential supplies, health care logistics and movement of returning migrants under tight health protocols are allowed.

The government has prepared about 28 billion U.S. dollars of stimulus packages to offset the economic impact of the partial lockdown.


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