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Jakarta Governor may stop gradual reopening if cases continue to soar

552 new cases on Monday as it reaches critical point with rising hospitalisation

JAKARTA: Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said he has considered stopping the gradual reopening of several essential services sectors as cases of Covid-19 continue to soar in the capital city.

On Monday, Jakarta once again became the epicentre after it recorded 552 new cases, taking the total to 29,952, which has surpassed East Java's 28,239 cases.

The capital has also reached its critical point with rising hospitalisation of Covid-19 patients - with a 40 per cent to 50 per cent occupancy rate last month.

"About the emergency brake and so forth, we will monitor (the situation) for a few days ahead," Mr Anies said on Monday as quoted by tempo.co.

He added: "I advise all residents to keep wearing a mask any time, anywhere. If you have any ailment, please report it and we will conduct a medical test."

Indonesia reported 1,673 cases yesterday, bringing the total number to 143,043.

There were 70 deaths, taking the total to 6,277.

The Philippines is doing the opposite. President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday eased the strict lockdown in and around the capital Manila as his government promised a "refreshed" approach to fighting Covid-19 that includes intensified testing.

Mr Duterte, in a televised address, said there was a need to reopen the economy with small and medium-sized enterprises "barely surviving", while at the same time calling on the public to "follow the safeguards".

The Philippines, which before the pandemic was one of Asia's fastest growing economies, fell into recession for the first time in 29 years with a record slump in the second quarter, due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.

REIMPOSED

It has the most number of cases in South-east Asia and yesterday reported 4,836 cases, the seventh straight day of reporting more than 3,000 cases. There were seven deaths.

Total confirmed cases stand at 169,213, while deaths have reached 2,687.

The quarantine measures were reimposed in the capital and nearby provinces from Aug 4-18 after a group of doctors and nurses warned that the healthcare system could collapse.

Mr Harry Roque, Mr Duterte's spokesman, said the government used the two-week window to "refresh" and "reboot" its responses against the pandemic, to allow for business activity to resume and let more people go back to work.

Mr Roque said from today, most businesses, including dine-in services will be allowed to reopen. Religious services will also be permitted but limited to 30 per cent of a building's capacity.

"We will intensify our testing," Mr Roque said, adding that the government will continue to conduct house-to-house checks to trace Covid-19 patients with mild or no symptoms so that they could be escorted to isolation centres.

The government has so far tested more than 1.9 million and it aims to test 10 million people - or nearly a tenth of the population - by the second quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, Malaysia recorded seven cases yesterday of which three were local transmissions.

The death toll remains at 125. - JAKARTA POST, REUTERS, THE STAR

WORLD