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Indonesia set to launch emergency measures to reign in its coronavirus ‘catastrophe’

Indonesia will launch emergency measures aimed at controlling its worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic, with the curbs due to run until 20 July, a senior minister says.

The world’s fourth most populous country has reported a series of record daily COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, including 21,807 infections recorded on Wednesday.

The Red Cross has said Indonesia’s COVID-19 surge is on the edge of a “catastrophe”.

Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto said on his Instagram account late on Wednesday that the health protocols to be launched on Friday would be applied using law enforcement.

He did not provide details but a government document reviewed by the Reuters news agency said the measures would be applied on the islands of Java and Bali.

In a bid to halve the current daily cases to below 10,000, Indonesia is proposing tighter restrictions on movement and air travel, a ban on restaurant dining and closure of non-essential offices, according to the government document seen by Reuters.

The document, which was preliminary and not yet officially released, also contains proposals to close shopping malls.

Tighter restrictions are needed due to the spike in coronavirus cases, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday, with the bed occupancy ratio at hospitals also up significantly.

The president also set a target to ramp up vaccinations in a bid to contain the outbreak, targetting one million doses per day in July and two million doses in August, up from about 200,000 to 300,000 a day recently.

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