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Jakarta Pulls the Emergency Brakes: Why PSBB is Being Reimplemented?

Nadhif Seto Sanubari

18 September 2020

“With these emergencies in mind, Jakarta has no choice other than pulling on the emergency brakes immediately. During the Jakarta Covid-19 Task Force meeting, it was concluded that we will pull the emergency brake, which means that we are forced to reimplement Large-Scale Social Restrictions as we have in the past. This is the emergency brake that we are pulling right now,” confirmed Governor Anies Baswedan in the Jakarta City Hall, last Wednesday (9/9).

Since it was first applied in early June, the Large-Scale Social Restriction (PSBB) Transition period has been extended time and time again for over three months. In that time, Jakarta citizens were allowed to do activities as normal but with strict compliance to the restrictions and health protocols. Until finally, on Wednesday, 9 September 2020, the Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan once again reinstated the PSBB rules originally put in place in April and May. With the return of PSBB, so comes back the older rules among which are the temporary closure of non-essential businesses, employees working from home, restrictions on public transport and houses of worship, and prohibition of crowds in public places. Though the big question that may ring through your and many Jakarta citizens’ minds may be this one: Why did Governor Anies reimplement PSBB?

Active Cases of Covid-19 in Jakarta is Still Rising

According to data from, the number of active cases in Jakarta had plateaued during the early months of PSBB, namely in April and May. This continued for the following month of June when the transition period was first enacted. From these early data, it may be observed that Jakarta had begun to succeed in ‘flattening the curve’ as it were. However, the number of active cases rose once again from early July and up until now. Though PSBB had succeeded in reducing the number of cases early on, this new rise in Covid-19 cases pushed the Provincial Government to reimplement the PSBB protocol.

While Mortality Rate is Low, Deaths Continue to Go Up

Similar to the active cases, the number of deaths caused by Covid-19 had flattened for a while in the early months of PSBB, but it went up once again. The number of funerals with Covid-19 procedures also increased during this time. Meaning, there have been more probable cases (cases that have not received a positive test result but have shown severe symptoms) who died and must be buried using the Covid-19 special procedure. According to the provided data, the Covid-19 death rate in Jakarta stands at 2.7%, which is actually still lower than the national death rate at 4.1% and even below the global death rate of 3.3%. Even so, the fact is that the number of funerals and Covid-19 deaths in Jakarta is still increasing rapidly every day.

Isolation Beds are Getting Filled Up

The number of isolation beds available for patients in Jakarta is predicted to be full by 17 September 2020, if PSBB is not reimplemented. If this happens, there will be many Covid-19 patients who will not be accommodated in health facilities. Governor Anies had also said that although the capacity of the special isolation room for Covid-19 will be increased by 20% from 4,053 beds to 4,807, all beds will be filled up by around October 6, 2020. Coupled with the ICU rooms which will also be full soon without the reimplementation of PSBB. The Jakarta Provincial Government is trying to increase the ICU capacity to 636 beds. However, without stronger restriction efforts, the Covid-19 ICUs in Jakarta could be full by September 25.

“Remember, increasing the number of beds doesn’t mean we only make room for more beds, but we also have to make sure there are enough doctors and nurses, safety equipment, and medicine. Short-term capacity building efforts unaccompanied by strict restrictions will only delay the inevitable, and it will only take one month before the hospitals are full again,” explained Governor Anies.

[Download Governor's presentation on the re-implementation of PSBB here]

With the return of the PSBB protocols, we as good citizens need to comply with and apply the regulations once again. Do not do activities outside the home except in an emergency, always wear a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands, avoid traveling to public places or take part in activities that create crowds, and report any activities you see violating the PSBB regulations through JAKI.


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Nadhif Seto Sanubari

Penulis dan penerjemah alumni Universitas Bina Nusantara, dengan pengalaman internasional di University of Bradford, UK dan Deakin University, Australia.

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