Covid-19: Brace for 'new normal', Indonesian govt says

Shoppers line up to buy vegetables, leaving space between them to comply with physical distancing policies, in Depok, West Java, on April 28.
PHOTO: Reuters

Covid-19 national task force chief Doni Monardo has asked the public to prepare for a "new normal" for the next several months, saying physical distancing and mask-wearing were likely here to stay.

The task force had discussed changing public behaviour to accommodate the post-pandemic reality with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Doni said.

"As we comply with large-scale social restrictions [PSBB], we need to keep wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and washing our hands," he told the press after a private meeting with Jokowi on Monday.

He said a number of red zones across the country had recorded lower transmission rates following the implementation of PSBB but that the country was not out of danger yet.

"It will take a very long time for us to fully recover. Perhaps we will adjust to a new normal by wearing masks and maintaining physical distance," Doni said.

Several provinces across the archipelago had stepped up their efforts to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, he said. The Jakarta administration had closed 168 factories and manufacturing plants, while the Riau administration had started enforcing penalties for violations of quarantine rules.

Last month, Doni claimed Jakarta - the country's Covid-19 epicentreĀ - had flattened the transmission curve thanks to the implementation of PSBB.

However, experts have warned against taking the government's assertion at face value, mainly because the country's lack of PCR testing capacity could cause cases to be underreported or reported late.

As of Monday, Indonesia had confirmed more than 11,192 Covid-19 cases and 845 deaths linked to the disease.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visitĀ here.