Asia Minute: Jakarta Declares State of Emergency

Mar 23, 2020

Various states, cities and countries continue to take different approaches in battling the spread of the coronavirus. Late last week, Indonesia’s capital city declared a state of emergency.

Starting today, what the Indonesian government calls “public entertainment” will be closed for at least two weeks in Jakarta. That includes everything from bars and movie theaters to spas. Public transportation will also be limited.

Religious activities have also been suspended in the capital of the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Jakarta will be under a state of emergency for at least the next two weeks — and the governor is asking companies to allow people to work from home.

Indonesia has come under criticism from groups including the World Health Organization because of a slow pace of testing for the coronavirus. Nearly two weeks ago, the Director General of the WHO urged Indonesian President Joko Widodo to declare a national state of emergency.

As of this weekend local time, government officials say only about 1,500 people have been tested across the vast archipelago nation of nearly 270-million.  Indonesia has reported fewer than 400 positive tests — most of them in Jakarta.

The country also has the highest level of deaths from the virus in Southeast Asia — more than 30.

The recent increase in cases in the national capital led the governor to declare the state of emergency in the city of more than 10-million – at a time when cases of COVID-19 are also spiking elsewhere in Southeast Asia.