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Coronavirus

Jakarta declares state of emergency to contain outbreak

Governor asks offices to close and shuts down entertainment spots

Jakarta is the commercial as well as the political capital of Indonesia. It also has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in the nation.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- The governor of Jakarta declared a state of emergency in the Indonesian capital Friday, strongly urging all corporate offices to close in the nation's commercial center in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

For now, the emergency declaration by Gov. Anies Baswedan is to last for the next two weeks through April 2. The order also shuts down public entertainment spots, such as cinemas, bars and karaoke rooms in the city of 10 million. Public transportation capacity will also be scaled back. Religious activities, including Islamic Friday prayers and Christian services, have also been suspended.

"The responsible attitude to take is to cease all outdoor activities," Baswedan said.

Indonesia has logged at least 369 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, including 32 deaths, with Jakarta home to 60% of the cases. The city's governing authority issued a nonbinding directive March 14 urging all citizens to remain indoors, but many people continued to commute to work.

Seeing the need for a more stout response to a growing epidemic, the governor issued the emergency order empowering the police and the military to essentially restrict movement of residents.

The Greater Jakarta area is home to roughly 30 million people. Jakarta proper is where 1.2 million enterprises, including sole proprietorships, do business. A major clampdown on mobility would deal a large blow to the national economy.

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