Indonesian stocks fall as Jakarta restrictions return

Indonesian stocks fall as Jakarta restrictions return

Workers wearing protective suits bury a coronavirus disease victim at Pondok Ranggon cemetery complex in Jakarta on Tuesday. (Antara/Reuters photo)
Workers wearing protective suits bury a coronavirus disease victim at Pondok Ranggon cemetery complex in Jakarta on Tuesday. (Antara/Reuters photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell on Thursday after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

The Jakarta Composite Index of shares slid 4.88% to 4,898.11 points as of 11.30am, set for the steepest drop since March. The capital will require non-essential industries to have their employees work from home and limit the use of public transportation starting Monday, Governor Anies Baswedan said in a briefing late Wednesday.

Jakarta has recorded a daily average of over 1,000 new cases this month, and has now registered almost 43,400 infections and 1,330 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to central government data.

The capital will reinstate restrictions similar to those imposed from April until June, when public transport was limited and dining in restaurants was forbidden, and working from offices will be prohibited from Monday, the governor said. "Right now, this is an emergency -- more pressing than the start of the pandemic," he said, adding that food assistance will be delivered to the most vulnerable while tighter restrictions are in place.

Baswedan said that without stricter measures, beds in intensive care units and isolation could be full within two months.

The occupancy rate of isolation rooms at 67 Covid-19 referral hospitals in Jakarta is now 77%, and the ICU occupancy rate is 83%, according to figures released by the city administration this week.

"This is about saving Jakarta residents. If we let it go on, the hospitals would not be able to take in (more patients) and deaths will increase," Baswedan said.

Experts from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University told a news conference they expected hospitals in Jakarta to reach full capacity this month if stricter measures were not imposed and said the death toll could hit 3,000 in Jakarta by the end of October.

"The slower we move, the harder it is to fight the pandemic, the more victims will fall," Sulfikar Amir, a disaster sociologist, said.

Indonesia has recorded 203,342 coronavirus infections and 8,336 deaths, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia.


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