The new restrictions would apply to dozens of cities and extend from the island of Sumatra in the west to the eastern tip of Papua as the highly infectious delta variant devastates the Southeast Asian archipelago after hitting densely populated Java.
“Cases are also increasing in other regions and we must pay attention to the availability of hospitals” there, Chief Minister Airlangga Hartarto said, adding, “the government has decided to extend the restrictions” until July 20.
The country’s hospitals are collapsing under pressure as a wave of sick patients floods the overwhelmed healthcare system.
This week, the government rolled out new restrictions on the virus in the hard-hit capital Jakarta on Java and on the holiday island of Bali, as it reported a record 31,189 new infections and 728 deaths on Tuesday, up to seven times the daily death rate in less than a month. behind.
Areas affected by the extended restrictions announced Wednesday have much lower daily case counts than the Covid epicenter in Java, home to more than half of Indonesia’s nearly 270 million people.
But limited health care services in those regions are already under pressure and an explosion of cases could bring them to their knees, Hartarto warned.
“Facilities in those regions are limited and overwhelmed,” he said, adding that they can follow even stricter rules if infections continue to rise.
The broader restrictions include forcing most non-essential employees to work from home, as well as limiting store and restaurant hours.
Mosques and churches in the Muslim-majority country were also closed in high-risk areas.