Bali added to Indonesia’s Covid-19 priority list, mini-lockdown awaits

29 September 2020

Bali is finally added to the list of top ten prioritized provinces for Covid-19 in Indonesia; along with other nine regions, DKI Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, North Sumatra, South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, Papua and Aceh. Based on the current situation in the island with more than one-hundred new cases daily, the national task force suggested Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, to also prioritize the handling in the island of gods. 

Not only due to the high rate of new infections, but Bali also reported low availability of hospital beds and isolation rooms. The latest update on 24 September 2020, the occupancy rate of hospital beds in Bali is 61,6% it’s the highest in Indonesia. It also has exceeded the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation; ideally, a regional area should have less than 60% BOR (Bed Occupancy Rate). Per 28 September 2020, Bali reported 107 new infections pushed up to 8639 cases in total, 263 fatalities, 7126 recoveries and 1250 active cases.

Local transmission is the main cause of Coronavirus spread in Bali. Yesterday, Denpasar reported the highest number of new infections in 32 cases, followed by Badung 24 cases, Tabanan 16 cases, and Klungkung 10 cases. Other five regions had less than ten new cases. Sadly, the authorities Polisi Pamong Praja still found tens of foreign tourists and locals not wearing a mask during a raid in Denpasar, Canggu and Kuta last week. Those violators are fined 100.000 IDR for disobeying the Governor decree 487/GugasCovid19/IX/2020. 

Jokowi has commanded the National Task Force to intensively do whatever it takes to increase the numbers of recoveries as well as minimizing the number of daily new cases, and the fatality rates within these ten provinces. The president expected all of the related authorities to be able to meet these goals in the next two weeks. Furthermore, all regional leaders are advised to implement micro-scale social restrictions (mini-lockdown) in a small area of each province. “This local-based intervention should be done by the regency/ head of each province. It means micro-scale restrictions must be implemented at the village level,…offices or even boarding schools,” explained Jokowi on his official YouTube channel, Monday, 28 September 2020.

The micro-scale social restrictions are considered more effective compared to full lockdown on a vast area like city or province, which also will affect the social condition of many people. An epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, Pandu Riono, also agree with the plan. The social restriction in Jakarta (PSBB) has significantly reduced the rate of Covid-19 transmission in the Capital city. However, this restriction will only be effective if implemented within enough amount of time. “Don’t loosen up the regulations too quickly like we did in June 2020 for the reason of economic condition,” said Pandu. “If the pandemic situation is not resolved (in the first place), the economy will not recover either,” he said.

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