Indonesia: Strict restrictions enter into force in the face of the Covid outbreak

Thousands of soldiers and police were deployed to Indonesia on Saturday in the streets of the island of Java and Bali to enforce the new restrictions put in place in the face of the unprecedented wave of Covid-19 infections that this country is experiencing. countries in Southeast Asia.

The country’s health system, overwhelmed, is on the verge of asphyxiation. Crowded hospitals are turning away patients, forcing desperate families to seek oxygen to care for the sick and dying at home.

Hundreds of checkpoints have been set up, while mosques, parks, shopping malls and restaurants have been closed in the capital, Jakarta, and the hard-hit Java region.

More than 50,000 police and soldiers have been deployed to enforce the restrictions.

A man walks through a park closed to the public in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, July 3, 2021 (AFP – CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN)

The rules also apply in Bali, where police patrolled closed beachside restaurants after the tourist island gave up on opening up again to foreign tourists.

The fourth most populous country in the world has seen its number of daily cases more than quadruple in less than a month, with a new record of 27,913 cases of contamination recorded on Saturday in the past 24 hours. Deaths stood at 493, lower than the record 539 recorded on Friday.

Indonesia so far has 2.25 million cases and 60,027 deaths, making it one of the worst-affected nations in Asia, a figure considered grossly underestimated.

Authorities hijack vehicles in Bekasi, near Jakarta, in the west of the island of Java, on July 3, 2021 (AFP - REZAS)

Authorities hijack vehicles in Bekasi, near Jakarta, in the west of the island of Java, on July 3, 2021 (AFP – REZAS)

“The stricter restrictions came too late,” said Maya Puspita Sari, a resident of Jakarta.

“The virus is getting so close. It’s terrifying.”

The highly contagious Delta variant is behind the recent outbreak of the virus in the country, the health ministry said.

The streets of Jakarta were largely deserted on Saturday, but staying at home was not an option for many of the day-to-day residents of the country of nearly 270 million.

“The measures need to be tighter, but please think of little people like me,” said Paijo, 35, as he struggled to find buyers for the instant coffee packets hanging from his. bike.

“It is my only means of subsistence, and I support my wife and my two children”.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced Thursday that the country will impose “emergency restrictions” from Saturday until July 20 in the face of the rising wave of Covid.

Employees in non-core sectors have to work from home and education is now done exclusively online.

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