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Jakarta declares emergency to contain virus

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Indonesian capital Jakarta declared a state of emergency on Friday as authorities stepped up efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

[JAKARTA] Indonesian capital Jakarta declared a state of emergency on Friday as authorities stepped up efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Under the emergency status, movie theatres, bars and other entertainment facilities will be shut from Monday for at least two weeks and public transportation will be limited to prevent the disease spreading to more people, according to Governor Anies Baswedan.

The emergency doesn't entail a complete lockdown of the city as it allows businesses to keep their operations to a minimum, Mr Baswedan said in a televised address.

Jakarta, with a population of about 10 million, has 215 confirmed coronavirus infections, the most in the country where cases have soared to 369 and killed 32 people.

President Joko Widodo has ordered health officials to ramp up rapid testing of suspects using blood samples amid fears fears a new wave of infection could soon hit the nation of almost 270 million people. Jakarta is the epicenter of infection in the country with death toll jumping to 20 from less than five a week ago.

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"We are also encouraging offices and businesses to stop their activities and for those who can't, should keep their activities and number of employees to a minimum," Mr Baswedan said. "Being responsible is by staying at home. Playing this down and doing activities outside even when we're healthy, we have potentials to infect people."

East Java, a province of about 40 million people, also declared a state of emergency for an unspecified period to contain the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to Kompas.com. The province has reported 15 cases of infection.

The government has already banned exports of face masks and sanitizers and allowed traders to import garlic and onions without permits to boost supplies ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. It has already ordered retailers to ration the sale of staples such as rice, cooking oils, sugar and instant noodles to prevent panic buying and hoarding.

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