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February 9, 2022, 04.53 PM - Indonesia will tighten social restrictions in Jakarta and Bali, as well as in two other cities on Java island, in a bid to contain a spike in coronavirus infections.

The Transport Ministry said under tightened curbs, overseas tourists can only arrive through Jakarta and Bali airports, as well as via Batam and Tanjung Pinang in the Riau Islands near Singapore.

The South-East Asian country has seen a jump in cases driven by the omicron variant, with more than 36,000 infections reported on Sunday and the bed occupancy rate at hospitals in the capital reaching 63 percent, up from 45 percent in January.

Senior cabinet minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who oversees the pandemic response in Java and Bali, announced on Monday, Feb. 7 tightened social restrictions in greater Jakarta, Bali, as well as in the city of Bandung in West Java and Yogyakarta in Central Java.

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Under the new regulations, supermarkets, malls, and restaurants will operate at 60 percent capacity, while capacity at houses of worship will be reduced to 50 percent, he told a streamed news conference.

Three provinces, including Jakarta, Banten, and Bali, had already exceeded infection rates seen during the wave driven by the Delta variant last July, but hospitalizations had remained relatively low, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said.

"Don't panic when you see an increase in cases," Budi said.

Indonesian officials have warned the surge in cases may not peak until late February.

The country became the global epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-2021, with a massive wave of cases driven by the Delta variant seeing its hospitals overwhelmed.

It has officially recorded more than 4.5 million cases and 145,000 Covid-related deaths, however, experts warn the true numbers could be much higher given inadequate testing for the virus.

Source: Reuters, ABC

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Source ABC

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