Indonesian president eases Covid-19 restrictions

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that the government will modify Covid-19 restrictions for the week of Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, involving those for shopping malls and industries, in response to a decreased infection rate in more regions.

More areas of highly populated Java island have been removed from the most severe Level 4 category, according to President Jokowi, who noted that hospital bed occupancy rates in those places had decreased over the past week.

According to senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan, restaurants and non-essential sectors will have their restrictions lifted, while the government expands the use of a smartphone application for tracking.

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Retailers would be allowed to serve up to 50% more dine-in customers than presently allowed, and malls may remain open until 9 p.m., an hour later than already allowed.

The government will also test indoor eating for eateries outside shopping centers in major cities.

All factories may run with 100% employees split into shifts if they have appropriate government papers, he said.

“We should be thankful for the progress we have made together. “We must be vigilant,” Luhut added. “If we are not cautious, the cases may increase.”

The government monitors the situation weekly and has the right to modify the limitations beginning Sept. 7 if necessary.

Indonesia strengthened its Covid-19 limits in early July, after a spike in infections and pressure on the country’s hospitals caused by the Delta variant.

Daily infections have subsequently decreased, hitting 5,436 on Monday, the lowest level since June, and down from a high of 56,757 daily infections in mid-July.

Over 4 million Covid-19 cases and over 132,000 fatalities have been reported in the world’s fourth most populated nation. Meanwhile, the tourist island of Bali remains classified as Level 4, despite Luhut’s expectation that circumstances would improve shortly.

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