Indonesia's capital to ease coronavirus curbs from Monday

A woman wearing a protective face mask crosses a main road, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/Files

JAKARTA (Reuters) - The Indonesian capital of Jakarta will kick off a two-week “transitional” period of eased coronavirus curbs from Monday after the pace of infections slowed over the last two weeks, Governor Anies Baswedan said.

The city of about 11 million in southeast Asia’s largest economy re-imposed tougher social restrictions from mid-September, after a spurt in virus infections put stress on its health services.

“We need to emphasise that discipline must remain high so that the chain of transmission remains under control and we don’t have to do an emergency brake again,” Baswedan said in a statement on Sunday.

The new measures allow non-essential businesses to work from offices, but making use only of half their capacity, while dine-in customers at restaurants are also limited to 50% of capacity.

Parks and museums will start opening with some curbs, while all businesses have to follow a strict hygiene protocol and keep data on their visitors for contact tracing purposes.

Baswedan added that the easing comes after a fall in the numbers testing positive for the virus as patients in Jakarta’s intensive care units (ICUs) thinned out, with occupancy rates dropping to 67% by Saturday, from 83% on Sept. 13.

Indonesia’s nationwide tally stood at 328,952 infections, with 11,765 deaths by Saturday, with Jakarta accounting for 85,617 cases and 1,877 deaths.

(Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: here)

Reporting by Nilufar Rizki, Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Clarence Fernandez