World

Indonesia extends curbs as infections continue to soar

It will ease the measures gradually from July 26 if cases drop, says President Joko Widodo

JAKARTA Indonesia will extend Covid-19 curbs until July 25 and aim to ease them gradually from July 26 if the number of infections drops, President Joko Widodo said in a virtual address yesterday.

On Monday, he had already indicated the curbs may continue.

He said then: "Imagine if this restriction is loosened and then the cases increase again and the hospitals are unable to contain the patients. This would cause our health facilities to collapse."

RECORD HIGH

Indonesia reported a record high of 1,338 coronavirus deaths on Monday, with 74,920 deaths since the pandemic began.

The country has a total of 2.91 million cases.

Under the emergency restrictions, grocery stores and supermarkets on Java and Bali islands, which account for two-thirds of Covid-19 cases nationwide, are to limit customers to half their capacity and close by 8pm.

Public places, such as shopping malls, parks and places of worship, have been ordered to close, and eateries can provide only takeaway service or deliveries.

Despite efforts to stop mass gatherings, Indonesians prayed outside mosques and slaughtered goats to commemorate a sombre Eid al-Adha festival yesterday.

In the capital Jakarta and elsewhere, some heeded an official request not to go inside mosques but instead gathered to pray on nearby roads, while residents in Bandung laid out their prayer mats in alleyways.

Jakarta's Istiqlal Mosque, the biggest in South-east Asia, was shut.

Religious officials moved to limit crowds watching the slaughtering of livestock - a key tradition of Eid al-Adha - and some mosques offered the chance to watch the sacrifice online.

But thousands in Banda Aceh on Sumatra island assembled outside the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque.

Vendors hawked animal-shaped balloons.

Meanwhile, police in Malaysia said 5,594 vehicles were ordered to turn back at roadblocks nationwide since Monday, the eve of the festival, for flouting curbs set for interstate and interdistrict travel, Bernama reported.

Police Commissioner Zainal Abidin Kasim said 456,019 vehicles were inspected at the roadblocks.

Malaysia reported 12,366 cases yesterday, taking the total to 939,899. - AFP, REUTERS

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