Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – Jakarta has extended its transitional period from large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for another two weeks starting on Friday after failing to slow down the daily increase in COVID-19 cases.
The capital positivity rate – or the percentage of positive results from all tests – hit 6.5 percent in the past week, above the figure recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for relaxations, which is 5 percent or below.
Jakarta's weekly positivity rate was consistently below 5 percent in June and part of July.
Furthermore, the city's latest COVID-19 daily reproduction number (Rt) stood at 1, said Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan. An outbreak is considered under control if the number is below 1.
"Considering the latest developments, we decided to extend the transitional PSBB until Aug. 13," Anies said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday.
He further appealed to the public, especially businesses and workplaces, to comply with health protocols during the period, which is described as a "transitional" phase with the gradual reopening of several essential services.
Anies emphasized that office buildings – many of which had started allowing their employees to come to work – had recorded an alarming rate of new COVID-19 clusters over the past two weeks.
"I once again remind everyone that any business is allowed [to open] only in half-capacity while adhering to health protocols and implement alternating working hours," he said, "If necessary, please allocate five to 10 minutes in the morning to remind all workers about the health protocols."
The city administration will impose progressive fines on businesses repeatedly caught violating PSBB regulations, Anies warned.
Jakarta's first transitional PSBB phase started on June 5 and was initially set to last until July 2. However, the administration extended the phase to July 16 and due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, extended it again to July 30.
On Thursday, the capital city recorded 397 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in Jakarta to 20,696, according to the central government's official tally. Jakarta authorities have done 36,591 swab tests per one million population in the city of 10 million people. (aly)